There is no security on this earth. Only opportunity. — Douglas MacArthur
On February 18th four business owners officially met to establish the HBCU Chamber of Commerce. The founding companies were AK, Inc. an investment and operations firm in Houston, TX that owns HBCU Money and operates in the agriculture, energy, finance, media, research, and transportation industries; Carter Media Enterprises a media company in Baltimore, MD that owns and operates HBCU Digest; Style Root, Inc. a public relations firm in New York City, NY; and Urban Argyle an events company in Atltanta, GA that are creators of innovative events geared toward image, activism, and awareness.
The chamber’s stated mission is “To promote and assist in developing sound economic progress in our community.” It will serve as the lobbyist voice for businesses owned by HBCU alums, students, and even HBCU institutionally owned businesses. The chamber will be creating institutes and initiatives, one of which it highlighted is its Rebuild Black Wall Street by 2020 initiative listed below:
- 51% of African America’s buying power in African American owned banks & credit unions
- African America owning 1.7 billion acres
- 51% of African America employed by African American owned companies
- Forgive all African American student loan debt
- Top 100 largest HWCU endowments to give HEF designated HBCUs 15% of asset value
- No income tax for African America individuals or companies for 25 years
- All drug related felonies for African Americans be expunged from records and voting rights restored
The goals are lofty but its impact on the African American economy will be profound and will allow future generations to truly build the economic institutional infrastructure that has been needed. To have a voice that is focused on our interest is vital as opposed to hoping that lawmakers will distribute and enact policies that would be accessible to everyone. Something we have tried in the past and has continued to leave us at a loss of opportunities. The founding of the HBCU Chamber of Commerce shows a move to creating an institutional mechanism that secures and increases the probability of opportunity coming to us.
The founding of this organization is also amazing when one considers the impact of four alums from four different HBCUs (Virginia State University, Morgan State University, Tennessee State University, and North Carolina A&T University) being represented in the founding. It highlights the promise of what HBCU collaboration can truly achieve and why we should strive to have more of it.