Latinos mark Small Business Saturday
Latinos are leading the nation in small business startups, according to a new report from Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The study, released earlier this year, notes that “Latinos are 1.7 times more likely to start businesses,” compared to other groups. Latino-owned businesses employ 2.7 million Americans and contribute more than $700 million to the economy each year.
California, as the state with the largest Latino population in the country, is leading this wave.
In Solano we are a living example of this new momentum around start-up and small business. In our county we experienced a 4 percent growth in businesses from 2017-18 and hope to have the same for this year. A large portion of that is small Hispanic business owners.
I’m now in my seventh year on the board of the Solano County Hispanic Chamber, and throughout my term I’ve been incredibly proud to see Latino businesses grow and thrive.
When the chamber began, it was out of a need to support a population that was historically underserved. While we still have a long way to go in achieving full equity on that front, I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to start giving back to the community in other ways as well — through scholarships, leadership training for women, and business awards, to name a few.
Our idea is to use innovative partnerships to continue growth in the coming years. We have started this with an issue that is very important to the Bay Area and to our community — energy use and conservation.
The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, which our chamber is a member of, recently formed a partnership with Energy Upgrade California for Small Business Saturday. Falling this year on Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday is a counterpoint to Black Friday — a day when the community centers on local shops rather than big-name retailers. We are proud that Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce features over 300 Latino-owned businesses, giving shoppers plenty of options to get their holiday shopping in while also contributing to our mission of a vibrant and diverse small business community.
Moreover, by partnering with Energy Upgrade California, the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce is helping our state reach its energy goals as part of our focus on sustainability.
It’s exciting to think that on
Saturday, shoppers will be able to pick up energy tips and free eco-friendly giveaways at participating businesses. Those who pledge to take a step, no matter how small, to conserve energy will also be entered to win their choice of a solar charger or smart thermostat to jump-start their new commitment to energy efficiency.
Small Business Saturday is even more important, as we see so many local businesses suffering from the impacts of online shopping, and communities struggling with the future of retail business. We are using this time to emphasize the role of Latino entrepreneurs in our communities, whether it’s grabbing a bite at a family-owned restaurant or shopping in a small business owned by your neighbor, you’re supporting local, sustainable development and community empowerment.
Trump’s claims of executive privilege, now will not so easily be able to ignore their subpoenas.
Trump’s Putin-inspired assault on our cherished Constitution and the rule of law is collapsing as the wave of his unbounded corruption devours itself. No man is above the law in America.
Perhaps he’ll soon resign. I know, wishful thinking, but ...
What a great Christmas present to America and the world!
The BSU 21 endure
This year marks the 50th anniversary of an almost forgotten Solano Junior College (that’s what it was called back then) sit-in protest that resulted in the arrest of 21 African-American students.
I was one of those students. We were charged, tried and convicted of misdemeanor trespassing for our refusal to leave a classroom. Back then, the college was located in north Vallejo. Solano County District Attorney E. Glynn Stanley, who wanted to show he was tough on crime, reportedly spent more than $1 million — a record at that time — to make us an example and teach us a lesson.
A little background: Just a year earlier in 1968, I was among the founding members of the college’s Black Student Union, a group dedicated to advocate for the educational and cultural issues of African-American students on campus. It was a turbulent time on college campuses nationwide — and Vallejo was no different.
At that time, you could count the African-American faculty on one hand and still have fingers left. There were no classes in African-American history and college administrators ruled the campus like dictators. We, young and idealistic, watching the civil rights movement unfold all around us — especially the student uprisings on numerous college and university campuses.
We, too, wanted change. Our protests — there were many — and our subsequent arrests were catalyst for that change we sought. Within the year of our arrests, the college hired more AfricanAmerican faculty, instituted a Black Studies Program, as well as other multi-cultural curriculum, and administrators started listening to students. Even then, we realized that our activism had created change.
We were victorious. In recent weeks, both the Solano Community College President, Dr. Celia Esposito Noy, and Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams have reached out to some of the BSU 21 to offer amends of sort for the punitive actions of their predecessors. While those gestures are important and well meaning, the 1969 county district attorney’s prophetic plan to “teach us a lesson” indeed came true. I learned that real, lasting change often comes with a price. The BSU 21 stood up for change 50 years ago, but the struggle endures.