The Return to Lobby Day
The energy is bubbling at the IL State Black Chamber headquarters as they plan for the “The Return to Lobby Day” on April the 26th. It’s been four years since the Chamber led a charge of hundreds of Black business owners to the Capitol in Springfield to participate in high level meetings with key agencies and offices to discuss the most important legislative items and policies that are affecting Black all across Illinois. It certainly feels like a lot longer!
A legislative day, also known as a lobby day, continues to be a crucial event for Black business owners. It offers unique opportunities for them to meet with their elected representatives and advocate for policies that support their particular businesses' growth and development. It’s widely known that Black business owners face unique challenges due to systemic racism and discrimination, making it ever more important to have their voices heard in the legislative process. This is what it means to “be at the table”!
The ILBCC Lobby Day provides a platform for Black business owners to build relationships with their elected officials and educate them about the issues facing their businesses. They can explain how policies affect their businesses and communities, and provide input on proposed legislation. This is especially important for Black business owners who may not have the same access to decision-makers as some larger, more established businesses do.
In addition to meeting with elected officials, Black business owners can connect with other entrepreneurs, share their experiences and best practices, and network with other like-minded individuals to help them continually build their businesses and gain valuable insights into how to succeed in a competitive marketplace.
One of the key issues facing Black business owners is access to capital. Many struggle to secure loans or investment because of discriminatory lending practices or a lack of resources in their communities. A legislative day can provide an opportunity to advocate for policies that increase access to capital, such as tax credits for investments in Black-owned businesses or increased funding for community development financial institutions.
Another critical issue for Black business owners is workforce development. Many struggle to find qualified employees or face discrimination in hiring and promotion. A legislative day can provide an opportunity to advocate for policies that support workforce development, such as tax credits for training programs or apprenticeships.
Black business owners also face unique challenges in accessing government contracts. Government agencies are often required to award a certain percentage of contracts to minority-owned businesses, but this requirement is frequently ignored or not enforced. The ILBCC Lobby Day creates an opportunity to advocate for stronger enforcement of these requirements and for policies that make it easier for Black business owners to compete for government contracts.
Lobby Day’s also an opportunity to advocate for policies that address systemic racism and discrimination. Black business owners still face the ramifications of historical and ongoing racism, such as redlining and discriminatory lending practices. The ILBCC’s Lobby Day can provide an opportunity to advocate for policies that address these root causes of inequality, such as increased funding for community development and anti-discrimination laws.
All in all, the IL State Black Chamber’s Lobby Day is a critical event for Black business owners, providing opportunities to build relationships with elected officials and executive teams, to advocate for instrumental policies that support their businesses, and to connect with a robust network of other like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners. It’s an unparalleled day full of events and power moves that you surely don’t want to miss. Join the largest and loudest advocates for the pro-Black agenda in Illinois at the table and in the legislative process…because that’s where the voices are heard! Visit ILBCC.org for more info or call 309-740-4430 to get registered for the ILBCC’s Return to Lobby Day, in Springfield on April the 26th. Hope to see you there!