DETROIT -- Michigan black business leaders have come together to combat the challenged Michigan economy for African American businesses by establishing the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC). The black chamber will introduce its board of directors, goals and black business membership drive at a press conference on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. The press conference will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
President and CEO Ron Busby, Sr. of the US Black Chamber of Commerce (USBC) is coming to Detroit to participate in MBCC's press conference; welcome MBCC as an affiliate; and provide remarks on behalf of the national organization. USBC is the recognized national voice of black business in America. It advocates for more than 1.2 million black-owned businesses' well-being and prosperity.
MBCC's new board was sworn-in on February 9th by the Honorable Craig Strong, Judge of Wayne County 3rd District Court. The new board members are William Brooks (Chairman), Charlie Beckham (Chairman Elect), Ken Harris (President/CEO), Pamela Rodgers (Vice President), Wayne Phillips (Treasurer), Reuben Munday (Secretary), Louis Green (State Advisor), Rod Rickman (National Advisor), Douglass Diggs, Natalie King, Mark Douglas, Dennis Archer, Jr., Dr. Geneva Williams, Cheryl Richardson, Hiram Jackson, Robert Chavis, Andrew G. McLemore, Jr., T. A. El Amin, Rumia Burbank, Eric Hardy and David Burnley.
The MBCC is Michigan's first statewide black chamber of commerce. The black chamber's creation is the culmination of efforts by a network of business organizations called the African American Business Alliance. In 2010, the Alliance refocused its advocacy efforts to establish and transition into the first African American statewide business organization – the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce.
According to Ken Harris, the chamber's president and CEO, "The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce will aggressively advocate for the economic gardening, growth and capacity building of Michigan black-owned businesses. As a mission-based member driven organization, the black chamber will provide quality resources, benefits, services and access needed to help stimulate economic viability throughout Michigan. Our efforts will nurture an environment of economic parity helping black businesses to expand and create jobs, jobs, jobs in the community."
A report of findings on the state of black business will be presented during the MBCC's State of Black Business Convention to be held on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at the Fort Shelby Hotel Doubletree Guests Suites.
During 2011 and 2012, the MBCC will launch local black chambers of commerce throughout many urban cities including Detroit, Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids, Southfield, Oak Park, Pontiac, Ann Arbor, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti, Jackson, Birmingham, Battle Creek, Idle Wild, Royal Oak and Muskegon.