September 26, 2016
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"Black & Brown Symposium" Wraps Up In TX

 

 

Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News, Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, EqualityHOUSTON  - Texas Business Alliance (TBA), a nonprofit, membership-driven leader of small business advocacy, development and promotion, recently facilitated a community collaborative program in Fort Bend County entitled the "Black & Brown Symposium - Hispanic and African American Shared Experiences with the Big 3 Es: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship."  Hosted by State Rep. Ron Reynolds (pictured right), the event was held at the Houston Community College - Stafford Campus and drew nearly 100 members of the community to candidly address persistent disparities that have resulted in double-digit statistics for high school dropout and unemployment, and fewer contract opportunities for Hispanics and African Americans as compared to Caucasians and Asians.

 

"Hispanics and African Americans represent the minority majority and over 50 percent of our students in these two groups drop out of high school in Texas," said Rep. Reynolds.  "Ultimately, education disparities will have a significant impact on everyone in this state as young people struggle to compete without a high school diploma, unemployment statistics rise, and Medicaid and prison expenses increase. I encourage everyone to talk to your legislature and stay engaged. It's pouring outside and now is the time to tap into the Rainy Day Fund to avoid cuts to education and layoffs of good teachers."

 

Following welcome remarks by TBA CEO and Founder Jeffrey L. Boney; venue host, Houston Community College, District VII Trustee, Neeta Sane; Clarence Holliday of Congressman Al Green's office; and event sponsor Jason Medlock, CEO of 3131 Properties and Glennlock Construction, dialogue ensued and was facilitated by Carlos Garcia of CJ's Insurance Agency and LaneStaffing, Inc. CEO Carla Lane.

 

A panel of community leaders addressed the issues and offered solutions. The panel members were Sonal Bhuchar, President, FBISD Board of Directors; Trustee Jim Babb, FBISD; Dr. Roderick V. James, PhD, Professor of Mathematics, Houston Community College System; Eddie Carreon Jr., Owner, Eddie Carreon Jr. Insurance Agency; Jason Medlock, CEO, 3131 Properties and Glennlock Construction; Len S. Goff, Broker, Golf Land Realtors; and Henry A. de La Garza, Principal, de La Garza Public Relations, Inc.

Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News, Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality
L-R: Sonal Bhuchar, Rep. Ron Reynolds, Jeffrey L. Boney, Henry A. de La Garza, Len S. Goff, Jason Medlock, Eddie Carreon Jr., Dr. Roderick James, and Jim Babb

 

Several issues were addressed that hindered "Big 3" success:

  • Perceived or real mistrust between Hispanics and African Americans related to business contracts and preferences given as a result of existing relationships with prime contractors; 
  • Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) programs and minority and women business enterprise (MWBE) certifications are needed, but minority- and women-owned firms should also be extremely capable and deliver excellent goods or services rather than feel entitled to contracts;
  • Poor credit scores compound lack of access to capital for Hispanics and African Americans businesses; 
  • The church has a role in being part of the solution; however, churches are not racially mixed which may lend to the limited impact churches can have on the community as a whole; 
  • Youth education should begin in the home; however, too many parents are relying on the school system to train their children;
  • Youths are not college-ready and lack preparedness in life management skills  and STEM education; 
  • Youths have greater access to the Internet through their smart phones, but do not use the devices for educational purposes; and
  • Some Fort Bend County schools lack the proper resources, qualified teachers and support leading to low enrollment, dropouts and closings.
  • Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News, Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality
    Fort Bend County Black & Brown Symposium - Hispanic and African American Shared Experiences with the Big 3 Es: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship

 

After discussing "present day" issues, future state solutions were offered. To address "Big 3" challenges, Babb suggested, "There needs to be a top-down approach.  A first-ever partnership should be formed in Fort Bend County among K-12 educators, higher education and the business community. Representatives from each of these communities should be involved in discussing the issues together instead of each operating in a vacuum."

 

Boney of Texas Business Alliance inquired of Bhuchar and other members of FBISD in attendance regarding the formation of a partnership, suggested by Babb, between the business community and colleges and universities.   Boney also offered to assist FBISD and Rep. Reynolds in working on FBISD plans to create and develop a solid MWBE program.  Both leaders agreed that this was needed and were open to more discussion.

 

Rep. Reynolds concluded the symposium by announcing his filing of HB 1851 to enhance opportunities for historically underutilized businesses.  "Although there have been many inroads made by HUBs over the last two decades, the percentage of contracts that they receive is unsatisfactory. Historically underutilized businesses are missing out on economic opportunities when the state falls short of its proposed goals for HUB contracts. HUBs have the experience and demonstrated ability to satisfy the requirements of contracts in a variety of fields and the state needs to be more accountable to ensure that HUBs receive contracts."

 

Rep. Reynolds also shared information about the Fort Bend ISD MWBE program and the power of proposed joint venture and mentor protégé programs, and working with organizations like TBA to assist.

 

Rep. Reynolds added, "We all stand together and need to work in unity to improve Fort Bend County education, employment and entrepreneurialism. This is not a Hispanic and African American problem. We all must be involved in making positive investments for our future."

 

 

About Texas Business Alliance

TBA is a member-driven, solutions oriented, 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, with a mission to equip minority- and women-owned businesses to be qualified suppliers, ready to compete for public, private and international opportunities through progressive development, and specialized training. Its vision is to strengthen the Texas economy and spur job creation by expanding minority- and women-owned businesses, and encouraging youth entrepreneurship. Chapter organizations are being pursued in Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso. 


STORY TAGS: Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News, Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality



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