Cover Story By: Darwin Campbell,African-American News&Issues
Cover and Inside Photo Credit: Priscilla Graham
Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development, Inc. (AHCBED) was more than a celebration. It was a national statement.
A statement to every Black community that it can keep its money in the community, circulate it among other Black people and businesses and get positive results.
“This 25-year anniversary is a message to us as Black people of the value of staying in the community and that we can have our own affairs in our community,” said 9th District Congressman Al Green. “The success of the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development, Inc. shows us we don’t have to go outside the community to hold events. We can turnover capital in our community. That makes the community stronger and we empower ourselves when we spend and keep our money in the community with our businesses.”
It is a message that the viable Black businesses in the community can come together, network and utilize one another to build the strong bases needed to support a chamber with the kind of longevity that makes it a business cornerstone and a solid example of Black pride and the promotion of Black history and heritage.
Formed on April 18, 1994, the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development Inc. is a 510(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission of promoting the advancement of economic vitality throughout the Acres Home Community by spearheading the organization and implementation of infrastructure development that will impact the sustainability of business, kindle entrepreneurial vision and adhere to the social aspects of the community it serves.
Chairman Roy Douglas Malonson said one of the most important aspects of the work of a Black chamber in any community is to work and never lose focus of the main goals of being unselfish in service, providing the best in customer service and always keeping the community first.
The AHCBED fulfills this mission by providing small businesses, entrepreneurs and the community with programs, seminars and workshops in business development, leadership and team building, educational and financial literacy, as well as the creation of collaborative outreach efforts with a special emphasis on promoting economic growth opportunities and community partnerships.
following areas: community stabilization, career development, adult outreach and youth enrichment.
“It’s so simple,” Malonson said. “It’s all about understanding the concept of keeping it in the community.”
The outside images of Black communities across America have made it difficult to sustain economic growth and business development, so the best thing a community can do is to rebuild itself and focus on the business and entrepreneurial talents that exist within the community.
It also gives the community an opportunity to showcase itself and the talent flowing from the neighborhood.
Turning dollars over gives us the capital we need to start and provide jobs for our people and promote new Black businesses in the community.
It is no secret that Middle-Easterners, Indian, Mexican and Chinese cultures have come over to the United States, started businesses, perfected their crafts and give back to their communities.
Each one continuously supports their people in any endeavor they attempt to pursue. Unlike other races, they are prideful of their people no matter the socio-economic status or difference in skin complexion. We must do the same in our communities in order to keep the “business blood” and life flowing through our neighborhoods.
Good things can happen in the community when dollars are turned over again and again in our neighborhoods. Here’s why:
1.African-Americans buying power is strong and getting stronger.
2. The national African-American buying power rose to $1.1 trillion in 2011, according to government statistics.
3.African-American spending is equivalent to being the 11th largest economy in the world.
Dollars are flowing through our community and we can do great things together if we use them in our communities and neighborhoods.
During the 25th Anniversary celebration, local Black and community businesses were represented at every level of the operation from catering to security to parking.
Often, millions of our dollars leave the community and makes its way into the hands of downtown hotel and convention center moguls who never return one penny back to the neighborhood and never stands or fights with the people on one key issue the Black community is concerned with.
Turning dollars over in the community also allows us to showcase what our communities have to offer and opens the way to network with other supporters to build more attractive buildings, centers and meeting halls to serve the business, meeting and civic needs of our communities.
One of the most important things we can do is look within and see and know the value of what we have to offer ourselves.
For example, buildings like the Beulah Ann Shepard Building is an example of how a nice facility in Black communities nationwide could be utilized for our own business meetings, weddings, retreats and convention style awards ceremonies and banquets.
We need to ask how many times has these hotel and convention center giants offered to use our neighborhood facilities, fellowship halls, banquet halls or office spaces for even a small retreat, dinner or awards banquet.
Enabling ourselves to provide an opportunity for someone else to have a job is something that we really should have more of in the African American community.
Black entrepreneurship can be a wonderful experience for the Black community and the business owner, but it is the community that benefits most for the support.
For Black businesses to succeed, they must have the help of their own people. Trickling down from generation to generation, Black people seem to still embody this desire to compete and tear one another down. The Silver Anniversary celebration is a positive example of what happens when Black people work together and have a love for community and a vision for its future.
In order for Black people to succeed in any community and have success stories like the AHCBED, Black people must know the other Black business owners in their area, neighborhoods and support each other.
We must simply stop deciding to take our business elsewhere out of our communities.
Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development Supporters
African-American News and Issues, RS Deer & Cattle Ranch, LLC, Shirley Ann’s Black Kollectibles and Flowers, Center Point Energy, TSU-Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston Community College System, Communities in Schools of Houston, George Washington Carver School Alumni, Texas State Senator John Whitmire, Aldine Independent School District, H-E-B, Bruce Austin, U.S. Rep. Al Green, Lone Star College-North Harris, HISD-McWilliams MS, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, Judge Zenetta Burney, Montalbano Lumber Company, University of Houston, District A Council Member Brenda Stardig, Burnita Shepard, Houston Community College Northeast, Hunter /Randle, Commissioner El Franco Lee, Paradise Funeral Home and Cemeteries, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Communication Workers of America, Boyd Funeral Directors of Texas, Mills Dental Care Center; C.A.T.C.H. Foundation, Oveta Hunter, Dr. Chantell Hines, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, Andrea Cooksey, Judge Oswald Scott, Albert Myres, Judge Warren Fitzgerald, Dawson Chemicals, Roderick Dow, PC, Frenchy’s, Comerica, Carolyn Rivera, Terrance Reed, Patrick Joiner, Metoyer-Roy Printing, Ltd, U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, Gerald Womack, State Rep. Borris Miles