LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour Launches, Partners With National Black Justice Coalition And SBA

Charles Pugh Joins Tour As Ambassador

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Road Show has one goal; tell the story of the business equality movement in as many cities as possible and help every NGLCC stakeholder understand that they are all a team working together to identity, certify, nurture, and support every LGBT business owner in the country.

Last month NGLCC announced they will be collaborating with the National Black Justice Coalition and the U.S. Small Business Administration for the "Many Faces. One Dream Tour," an LGBT economic empowerment tour for communities of color.

"The NGLCC's Road Show was born out of this simple idea: Every local chamber leader, LGBT business owner, and corporate partner is a champion for our shared goals in the places where they live and work," said Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president. "We are excited to be part of Many Faces. One Dream Tour so that we can help LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs of color take their businesses from survival mode to legacy mode."

The tour seeks to focus on the communities' economic power, innovation and creativity in the small business sphere. The tour will take place in 13 major cities throughout the U.S. that have a significant LGBT presence in communities of color, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The project has chosen important leaders as tour ambassadors, who will help spread the word and bring valuable business expertise to the project. Among these ambassadors is Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.

Workplace and employment discrimination have especially grim consequences in LGBT communities. The Williams Institute found that between 15 percent and 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Plus 8 percent to 17 percent of gay and transgender workers report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"This groundbreaking initiative is an exciting continuation of NBJC's ongoing work to empower people at the intersection of the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality," said Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Councilman and NBJC Board Chair.

"With unemployment rates in communities of color at a record high, we have to come up with innovative ways to be an economically just and prosperous nation," said Evan Low, Mayor of the City of Campbell, California. "Often times, discrimination precludes advancement for LGBT people of color."

"When LGBT Americans of color succeed financially, our local communities flourish and our economy thrives. Many Faces. One Dream. ensures that opportunities to explore entrepreneurial ventures happen in a responsible, inclusive and sustainable way," added Low, who became the country's youngest openly gay mayor in 2010.

"Despite the challenges we face, gay and transgender people represent an untapped segment of aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners," said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC's executive director. "Many Faces. One Dream seeks to bring focus on this specific community's economic power, innovation, and creativity in the small business sphere."

In addition to pioneering this initiative, NBJC has launched its 2013-2014 Business Council with Katheryn King, Regional Vice President at U.S. Bank and out black lesbian, at its helm as the Business Council Chair. In this capacity, King will use her experience as a diversity and inclusion practitioner in an advisory role to NBJC.

The Ambassadors

The organization has also rolled out an impressive cadre of LGBT people of color stakeholders, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and elected officials to serve as National Ambassadors for this initiative. These National Ambassadors serve as shining examples of what success in LGBT communities of color look like. Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassadors include Simone Bell, State Representative, Georgia General Assembly; Kylar W. Broadus, Esq., Lincoln University Associate Professor; Carolyn Brown, Senior Multimedia Content Producer, Black Enterprise; George Carrancho, Diversity Markets Manager, American Airlines; Dr. Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago Professor; Eugene Cornelius, Jr., U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Field Operations Deputy Associate Administrator; Ben de Guzman, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Co-Director for Programs; Ingrid Duran, D&P Creative Strategies Co-Founder; LZ Granderson, CNN/ESPN Commentator/Contributor; Katheryn King, U.S. Bank Regional Vice President; Evan Low, Mayor of the City of Campbell, CA; Samir Luther, Director of Leadership Initiatives, Victory Institute; Janet Mock, Writer and Public Speaker; Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Councilman; Natalia Oberti Noguera, Pipeline Fellowship Founder and CEO; Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, Cook Ross Inc. Principal Consultant; Catherine Pino, D&P Creative Strategies Co-Founder; Charles Pugh, Detroit City Council President; Frantz Tiffeau, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Diversity, Office Depot; and Cuc Vu, Human Rights Campaign Chief Diversity Officer.

"Some claim they don't know any LGBT people of color thriving; others argue that we simply don't exist. The Many Faces. One Dream. tour shatters those assumptions and challenges that invisibility," says Janet Mock, writer, public speaker and Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassador. "As a trans woman of color, I'm all too familiar with the fact that my people have been activating at the intersections of many oppressions for far too long, and my goal as a National Ambassador is to unveil the unseen, overlooked, untapped talent that exists in my community."

In each city, Many Faces. One Dream. will host a "Small Business Marketplace" featuring financial services and certification agents to support small business development. The marketplace will be a venue for LGBT-owned businesses of color to have access to the resources and tools needed to grow and sustain their enterprise. Key components of the marketplace include opportunities to exchange business-to-business products and services information; the SBA and SCORE one-on-one counseling for entrepreneurs and small businesses; and the opportunity to learn about the various certification available and how to do business with the local, state and federal government. Additionally, the Marketplace will provide value to corporate sponsors who can add to their supplier diversity databases while demonstrating their commitment to being a good corporate partner within LGBT communities of color.

Black Enterprise magazine has also partnered with NBJC as the Many Faces. One Dream. national media sponsor. The premier business news and investment resource for African Americans will work to develop content relative to the tour and wealth creation for LGBT communities of color across all platforms - print, digital and television.

"Small business represents the engine of commercial innovation, employment opportunities, and economic development. As the state of the economy gives birth to a virtual nation of entrepreneurs, we will benefit immensely from a transformative development inclusive of LGBT business owners of color," explains Derek T. Dingle, Black Enterprise Editor-in-Chief. "Black Enterprise is proud to partner with the National Black Justice Coalition and the U.S. Small Business Administration on the Many Faces. One Dream. tour, demonstrating that we will ensure all best business minds are included in the process of building a new America."

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