Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media
The California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) and the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recognized the success of 16 thriving Black-owned businesses at its annual Legislative Business Brunch at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento.
The brunch, organized to celebrate Black History Month, honored the achievements of the businesses, and celebrated their commitment to professional service and making an impact on the economy of communities around California.
“I am thankful that today, as it being the month of February and celebrating Black History Month, we get the opportunity to celebrate Black businesses. We get the opportunity to celebrate each one of you who are pouring into your communities in a meaningful and economic way,” said Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun City), chair of the CLBC. “You are making an economic impact, not only for your families but for those that you employ and those that you provide good service to.”
Sponsored by Amazon and Instacart, the business program attracted Black business leaders, non-profit operators, and all 12 members of the CLBC. Three Black constitutional officers – Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, State Controller Malia Cohen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond — were recognized at the event held at Citizen Hotel.
Cohen and Thurmond were present to accept their awards, and Reginald “Reggie” Fair, Deputy Secretary of State for Operations, accepted the award on behalf of Weber.
Radio personality Keisha Mathews was the program emcee. Dr. Roy Larry and his wife Penelope of the Potter’s House COGIC church in Sacramento, provided the invocation. Sacramento area youth advocate Patrice Hill shared inspirational words in the form of a poem.
The event’s program was presented by Wilson, CBCC’s President and CEO Jay King, and CLBC vice chair Sen. Steven Bradford (D- Inglewood). Anthony Williams, the California Public Policy Director for Amazon, was the guest speaker.
King reminded the attendees that the event was made possible by Aubry Stone, who started the advocacy for Black businesses in the state in 1995 until his passing in November 2018.
Stone facilitated networking among different business organizations across the state and fostered relationships with local governments. In the process, he opened doors of access to all races, King said.
“We are the California Black Chamber of Commerce, and we believe in diversity, equity and inclusion. I believe that means everybody. We shouldn’t leave anybody out,” King said. “We help small businesses. Today, it just so happens to be African American small businesses because of the many obstacles they face every day.”
Each honoree was selected from the state lawmakers’ districts, including four special recognitions selected separately by King. The following proprietors received business awards from the CLBC and CBCC:
Demetrius Porter, Center Cork Wines (Fresno); Chandra Brooks, Chandra Brooks International (San Jose); Juana Williams and Blair Paysinger, Downtown Disney (Anaheim); Earl Johnson, Home and Work Mobile Oil Changers (Fremont); Deborah A. Day, Ashay By The Bay (Vallejo); and Clayrone Clark, Coop and Fire; (Gardena); and Dr. Leonard Thompson III, M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records, (San Diego);
Rounding out the business honorees are Keith Corbin, Alta Adams (Los Angeles); Reggie and Nicole Borders, Pound Bizness (San Francisco Bay Area); Lee Williams, Lee Williams Real Estate Group (San Pedro); Ann Hamilton, Robsag Real Estate, LLC (Pasadena); Twina
Brown, Mama T’s Food For the Soul (Moreno Valley); Austin Clements, Slauson & Co (Los Angeles); Zion F.A. Taddese, Queen Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant (Sacramento); Tyrei Lacy, Restaurant Seven Nineteen by G/S (Los Angeles); and Bo and Kay Anuluoha, Kutula by Africana (Los Angeles).
The CBCC is an African American non-profit business organization that represents hundreds of small and emerging businesses, affiliates and chambers of commerce throughout the state. It provides advocacy assistance for supplier’s diversity needs, and business development and training for small businesses.
The CLBC, formed in 1967, was created to address the concerns of African Americans and other citizens of color. According to the organization’s website, the members believed that a caucus would provide political influence and visibility far beyond their numbers. Today, there are 12 members of the CLBC serving in the California Assembly and Senate.