Thoughts on Race

 In Advocating

What began in Minneapolis last week with a senseless killing—and has now become a global movement—is something I feel must be addressed by the Chamber.  It is not an understatement to say that El Paso has had a difficult year. But through all of these trials, we have shown that El Paso is a compassionate community that comes together to support one another. That is the spirit we must embrace again now.

In response to recent events, the Chamber is committing to offer free business coaching to any black-owned businesses in the El Paso community. We are also working with our El Paso Young Black Leaders to host a series of conversations about how the Chamber and our member businesses can meaningfully, concretely, and seriously address the intersection of race and business in El Paso. In creating space for these talks, we want to both highlight local leaders and create a roadmap with defined goals, ones directly shaped by the needs of our community. Our intention is not to prescribe but rather to elevate the voices that need to be heard and ensure our community is one that is productive and welcoming to all.

We are also exploring a partnership with Texas Competes, an organization that works to promote nondiscrimination across the state. Nondiscrimination enjoys broad bipartisan support and can deliver concrete economic benefits by creating jobs—benefiting both business and society. These are the kinds of tangible practices that we want to focus our efforts on.

During my two years at the Chamber, we have worked to support minority-owned businesses through coaching initiatives, events, and advocacy like the El Paso Young Black Leaders, Women in Business and Pride.  But we obviously need to do more. I encourage you to reach out to us with your questions, concerns, and ideas.

I often say that hope is not—and cannot be—a strategy for business. But that doesn’t mean business cannot be hopeful. These are tumultuous times, but they are also optimistic ones; they speak to a desire to build something better. I hope you will join me in doing so.