Jan. 27, 2021 —
We don’t ask you to believe in our ability to change, we ask you to believe in yours. – Barack Obama
While change may be difficult, it is definitely necessary. If we continue to glean from the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, St. Louis epitomizes its very essence. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens opens as he points to major conflicts that captured hatred vs. oppression; good vs. evil; wisdom vs. indiscretion. Literary journals go on to state that the tale begins with a vision that human prosperity cannot be matched with human despair.
For years, the fragmentation in our leadership created fertile breeding grounds for continued economic disparities in our city. We struggle to see all contributors to the economics of St. Louis as equal, necessary, valuable partners. We must consider the Flavored Pickle vendors; the In-home daycare providers; the independently hired home healthcare workers and sole proprietor accountants when we are making decisions of how to administer help. When creating applications to provide funds for assistance we must think about what it will take for these individuals to show themselves worthy of our support and not cause further unnecessary barriers to either their survival or to their success.
How can we find the best of times in a COVID-19 infested world where our lived-out experiences are definitely our worse? How, by thinking outside the box. In our lifetime, these are the worst times. Alarming evidence suggests that Black America is dealing with the brunt of the health and economic crisis sparked by the Coronavirus pandemic. Our reality is that the economic devastation brought on by the pandemic underscores the structural racism and economic injustices that Black business owners have faced for decades. It’s time to stop using buckets to put out house fires and bring about substantial solutions of change.
By committing to the following, we commit to making the best of these times:
- A Strong Commitment to Access to Capital
- Increased Contracting and Procurement Commitments
- Prompt Pay Commitments
- A Commitment to Focus on Infrastructure in Underserved Communities
- A Commitment to Statistical Data Collection
The Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce (HSBCC) in partnership with its National Partner the US Black Chambers Inc. is committed to helping to resolve these challenges.
In supporting the HSBCC, you support black economics as we look to turn these worst of times into better times, by marked intentional, significant change. Change where we can see all boats rising together in the tide for St. Louis. The Black Community in St. Louis is counting on your ability to be brave, to act and to Change.
Veta T. Jeffery has spent her life fighting for the rights of others. She began her professional career advocating for the rights of Differently Abled individuals. Conflict Resolution education and training allowed her to serve others successfully navigating them through education, employment, building and housing issues.