The author of the Facebook post in three important areas reduced the importance of this type of organization designed to advocate for our community. Those areas are community involvement, community perception and community support.
The first question asking “How long are we supposed to wait on ya’ll?” is a reflection of the general lack of community involvement with the Black Chamber. The question represents an unrealistic notion that a Chamber of Commerce is an organization separate from the community it serves.
The next question “How is your organization taking the lead on a solution?” is doubly significant. The phrase “your organization” in the question further reinforces the self-imposed separation from the Chamber, an organization that belongs to everyone in our community. Secondly, it is framed in a leader/follower paradigm; instead of a collective and collaborative process of relationship.
The last statement of the post is the most revealing one: “People are out here supporting Black owned business without being a part of your organization.” It asserts that the Black Chamber of Commerce is not needed, and supports it with a misperception of ineffective leadership based on the person’s individual standards over the more relevant collective standards of the community.
The unfortunate aspect of this is that this person is not alone in the negative emotion associated with a tool that is a most significant and relevant component to our solution. This collective negative emotion within our racial demographic (Black) demonstrates itself directly in the cost of not doing business together i.e., group economics. Today the Black dollar still does not circulate anywhere near the eight to 12 times that it should within a healthy economically intact community. How does this lack of collective economic behavior impact our political power and influence? We are competing against PACs and lobbying groups whose coffers are overflowing with cash. Our community mistakenly believes that the vote in and of itself is the power… it is not.
Anything we do requires some form of economic interaction. “If it don’t make money then it don’t make cents.” A Black Agenda without the muscle of economic influence is just a wish list. A vote for your politician of choice without collectively strategic economic influence, is to send a soldier into battle without any ammunition.
Negative emotion about any advocacy group that represents your community is not a solution. If you are not already, be a significantly positive part of the solution. Join and actively participate in “your” local Black Chamber of Commerce. One cannot hold anyone else accountable, until one first holds self in that same manner.
In the year of COVID-19 note the following recent accomplishments of the Indy Black Chamber of Commerce:
- Financial Training & Loan Program with Lake City Bank.
- Shopping our Stores in partnership with RTV6 featuring Black Businesses.
- COVID-19 Racism Disparities Initiative.
- COVID-19 Relief Funds in Partnership with Comcast.
- The opening of our new Black Chamber co-op working space Chamber 465.
George Middleton is a therapist and author promoting a series of works addressing race and mental health. For more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.