All of us at NAMC-Oregon and across our 24 chapters in the U.S. are angered and deeply saddened by the police murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless other deaths in the Black community—incidents rooted in a long history of anti-Blackness in our nation for 400 years. I can’t even begin to describe the generational trauma that comes with this legacy of racism, which affects us all arguably more than this current COVID pandemic. This is a horrible moment for our nation—and a moment that challenges each of us to commit to lasting change. Together we should all stand in solidarity with the Black community—our employees, customers, partners and friends in this fight against the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our community and all over the country. THIS MUST STOP.
NAMC was founded in Oakland, California during the civil rights movement in 1969 by Black and Brown communities to fight injustice in the construction arena and has expanded across the nation as the oldest minority business organization in the U.S. with annual gross receipts of over one billion dollars nationally. Locally we equate to roughly $200-million. Through our network of local chapters, and collaboration with strategic and industry partnerships, NAMC continues to be a “change agent” assisting members and partners building capacity by providing access to opportunities, advocacy, and contractor development through our technical assistance trainings.
The racism that led to these tragic and unnecessary deaths has also created tragic economic disparities between Black and White people in the United States, a reality that the pandemic has magnified and laid bare. We need to be stronger partners in ownership, development, building, operators and employers of the local community workforce in a process where public and private companies continue to build successful, quality projects while allowing intentional inclusion and restorative justice to be an integral part of the planning and execution of that success.
NAMC is concerned that we are losing a generation of minority youth because of neglect and indifference.
We can no longer ignore the obvious: African-American males 18-35 have the highest unemployment rate and most affected by COVID in America. Other minority groups, have also experienced these disparities, but not at the same levels given national statistics. Exposing and everyone truly understanding the root causes of the systemic racism, inequities, and injustice in America is a necessary precondition for developing, advocating, and ultimately implementing policy solutions sufficient to the scale and scope of these problems.
In closing we need to be the change we want to see and stand together to demand economic, education, health and judicial system changes by VOTING and SPEAKING out against all injustices in unity. I want to personally thank the NAMC members, partners, families and friends who have reached out to me in solidarity from the Black, indigenous, latinx and white communities to say this is not okay and we stand with you in this fight against racism and discriminatory behavior. I call for us all to take action and make statements as the world will remember who stepped up and who stayed on the sidelines.