Since that hearing, BECMA has taken several steps to address this matter with city officials and departments. I wanted to give you a brief synopsis of what we did and what we are doing now.
What we did:
Ten days after the hearing, we met with Mayor Walsh and his team to discuss next steps critical to addressing the stated inequities. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but some of the recommendations we offered included that:
The city must set achievable, baseline goals for us to work toward that can be tracked and improved upon.
The city must develop inclusionary policy language that codifies best practices and ensures long-lasting efforts to redress historic injuries.
The city must devote significant resources to existing technical assistance programs that help businesses with back-end management and assist with efforts to scale and grow.
It was important to us that the city also hear directly from our members. We included feedback from BECMA businesses, sharing some of the following:
The city must break up large contracts (our study of FY18 data showed that 72% of contracts went to 2% of the vendors).
The city must share feedback with businesses who apply for and are denied a contract in order to help them better prepare for future opportunities.
The city must work with partners like BECMA and other stakeholders to strategically match our members and other MBEs to lucrative, upcoming contracts.
What we are doing now:
We continue to be in conversation with Mayor Walsh and the Office of Economic Development and are monitoring efforts in response to our recommendations. We are also meeting with other stakeholders in the Black business community in order to ensure as many voices as possible are at the table or sharing wisdom and feedback on how the city can best address this issue.
We also continue to solicit feedback from members and invite you to share your thoughts on our recommendations or any additional suggestions you may have at email@example.com.
Thank you for standing with us as we push the city to meet its obligation, *|FNAME|*. With your support, we will help to ensure that Boston becomes a model for the Commonwealth and the nation on contracting with businesses of color.
In May, we released our statewide legislative agenda for the 2019-2020 session of the Massachusetts State Legislature. We believe that the legislation contained within will help ensure the sustained growth of Black businesses and Black communities across the Commonwealth.
As circumstances change and new potential laws are introduced, this agenda will be updated to reflect these movements. If you don't see a piece of legislation that you believe should be supported by BECMA, be sure to reach out and let us know.
May 29, 2019 -- We held another successful conversation on Opportunity Zones with Boston Ujima Project and LISC Boston. We appreciate Black Market making their space available to us, and are grateful to all for the conversation! Stay tuned for a follow-up communication containing presentations, information, and next steps that will be sent out later this week.
May 30, 2019 -- Partnering with Councilor Josh Zakim, we hosted the "Convening Cannabis Stakeholders" networking event in our office space. We paired people of color looking to own and operate a cannabis business with those looking to invest in these endeavors. Due to overwhelming interest, we will host similar events in the near future.
May 31, 2019 -- We joined the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts for their 30th Annual Conference, both as a co-sponsor and as a keynote address. BECMA offered its perspective and recommendations on Boston's under-investment in businesses of color.
May 31, 2019 -- Later that day, the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council hosted their "Cannabis Crowdfunding" event in Roxbury, which we were proud to co-sponsor. BECMA was able to deliver opening remarks and share resources and information about our work.
BECMA Member Highlights
Please join us in congratulating Reggie Nunnally, a BECMA Board Member, on the recent announcement of his appointment as the newest board member for the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority!
In May it was announced that Malia Lazu, a BECMA Advisory Board Member and founder of The Urban Labs, would be joining Berkshire Bank as a new EVP. Take a moment to read her op-ed in the Boston Globe about her new role.