MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Guest editorial by Earle Fisher with the Memphis Grassroots Organization Coalition:
Last week, the CME Church and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition brought Rev. Jesse Jackson back to Memphis to advocate for more equitable practices in governmental contracting.
Spring-boarding off of the disparity study which confirmed that black-owned businesses were receiving approximately 1 percent of gross receipts, Rev. Jackson met with clergy and community leaders, business owners, the mayor, and addressed city council to highlight the issue.
There have been mixed views regarding Rev. Jackson. Some are not sure if his visit helps or hurts the current cause(s).
Some skepticism is reasonable. Some celebration is warranted. But one current opportunity for partnership is with the local labor movement and the black business conglomerate.
If we are legitimately willing to work towards "economic justice," we have to embark upon that initiative comprehensively.
We must create an infrastructure that ensures that we don't just make a few more rich black businesses while allowing those businesses to also exploit black labor like most corporations already do.
Therefore, I'm proposing that we add a livable wage resolution to all of the economic contracts we are lobbying for.
I am all for black folks getting an equitable slice of the pies we've helped bake. But I'm not for us creating a different ruling class on the backs of the poor and working class people. Everyone can't be a business owner or stock market aficionado.
Those of us advocating for equity in contracting should also support the Fight for $15 movement. There is no economic justice without livable wages. So we need black labor and black businesses at the same table. Let's make it happen, now.
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