By Joanne Sabir
Co-Founder of the Sherman Phoenix and was recently named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s “Community Executives of the Year” and “2020 Women of Influence.” She and her husband, Maanaan, own and operate The Shindig, LLC.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Sen. Kamala Harris to discuss challenges in our community and for Black business owners. It felt like an important course correction. It was truly an affirming experience. Sen. Kamala took notes and listened intently as we talked through our lived experiences in community as business owners. Our time together was a powerful moment to be heard again!
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have an ambitious plan for Black America to root out and dismantle systemic racism in our institution and laws and to build an economy that finally brings everyone along. We should all examine, share and provide feedback.
The plan is wide-ranging and comprehensive – it includes critical investments in education: eliminating the funding gap between white and non-white school districts, improving teacher diversity, and providing high-quality, universal preschool for all three- and four-year-old children. Joe and Kamala will tackle health inequities – protecting and building on Obamacare to ensure access to high-quality, affordable health care and ensuring that Black communities have clean air to breathe and water to drink. And they will create wealth in the Black community by creating millions of good-paying jobs, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding access to homeownership with a tax credit for first-time home buyers.
We will all have to leverage our respective skill sets and get to the business of supporting the revitalization of our communities. The plan is a great first step as we all work to collectively breathe hope back into our shared futures. The work always begins and ends with the people. A plan is only as good as those called to implement it with the insight of those it aims to affect.
From our conversation it was clear Joe and Kamala also know that our small businesses need to be prominently situated in our recovery. Black-owned small businesses have been hit disproportionately hard by this virus and economic recession, yet Donald Trump has refused to take any steps to address those disparities. Black business owners did not have the equal access to revenue streams like the Paycheck Protection Program, and as this pandemic drags on, the situation on the ground is only getting more challenging. A
September survey showed that 43% of Black small business owners say they will deplete their cash reserves by the end of the year, compared to 30% for business owners overall.
Small businesses deserve better than President Trump. We deserve a president who appreciates the essential role we play in our economy and communities and who cares about our long-term success. Joe Biden will be that president.
There is so much at stake in this election for our city and for our country. Make a plan to vote today at iwillvote.com/WI – and make sure your friends, your family and your neighbors also have plans to vote and to make their voices heard.