Builders Building Equity: A Call to Action from NAMC NOC
The Northern Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC NOC) stands in solidarity with the movement to end the racist murders of black and brown people at the hands of police. While our country continues to go through turbulent times, we at NAMC NOC, and across our 24 chapters in the U.S., are angered and deeply saddened by the loss of the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and the countless other people from the Black community who have been murdered at the hands of police and racist vigilantes.
This consistent disregard for the lives and well being of our communities has resulted in an untenable situation. We must implement a bold and comprehensive framework focused on uplifting our communities.
These recent racial incidents are rooted in anti-Blackness afflicting our nation for more than 400 years. This horrible time in our nation - challenges each of us to commit to lasting change. The systemic racism that led to these tragic and unnecessary deaths has also created catastrophic economic disparities among black business owners in the United States, a reality that the pandemic has magnified and laid bare.
At a time when racial injustices are top of mind, we can’t help but think about the disparities in the construction industry.
Blacks represent more than 50 percent of the population in the city in which we pay taxes, and yet black-owned construction companies receive less than five percent of the construction dollars.
Enough is enough! In 2019, the city of Cleveland spent $2 billion in construction. About 10 percent - or $200 million- of that was supposed to be directed to diverse organizations. Why do we not see those dollars represented in our community? Why are our metrics not measured by dollars? Why is it that we are not getting more Tier 1 opportunities and prime contractor opportunities? Owners, developers and large majority owned construction firms need to become more intentional in equity building with black firms.
Our group was not organized to eliminate any other programs that support equity. We look forward to other organizations working in unison with NAMC NOC to support diversity inclusion efforts.
We are able to speak first hand about the issues that prevent us from being sustainable. We agree and declare that racism is a public health crisis. It is a pandemic that requires an immediate cure.
We are tired of diversity outreach programs and training programs that fall short of real substantial economic participation in construction projects. Whether we are union or nonunion contractors, commercial or residential, large or small, the common denominator of being black contractors is that we know the plight of the biases - implicit and explicit that we experience.
The reality is when you drive by a site and see a small percentage of black tradesmen on a site in majority black neighborhoods and they don’t look like you, that’s a problem. When you see racial epitaphs spray painted on port-a-johns, that’s a problem. When you see a noose hanging on a job site, that’s a problem. When you get asked what your black rate or MBE rate is, that’s a problem. When you can’t get on a job because the minority quota is filled - That’s a problem!
As we are watching the nation suffer due to racial unrest, we need to be the change. We want to see and stand together to demand change for economic, educational, health, and the justice system. We can achieve this together by voting, educating and advocating against all injustices with one voice. We call for us all to take action and make statements as the world will remember who stepped up and who stayed on the sidelines.
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. The national memberships annual gross receipts exceed $1B dollars. 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.
We invite you to join the National Association of Minority Contractors Northern Ohio Chapter. Please visit our website at www.namcnoc.com to explore membership opportunities. Let’s work together to find a cure of the public health crisis we as black contractors experience on a daily basis – racism.
National Association of Minority Contractors, Northern Ohio Chapter, Inc.
4711 Hinckley Industrial Parkway,
Cleveland, Ohio 44109