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FOCUS Founded in 1905 Robert S. Abbott (Founder) 1905-1940

John H. Sengstacke (Publisher) 1940-1983 Frederick D. Sengstacke (Publisher) 1983 - 2000


The tragic travesty in trade and transactions

The positive demonstrations of sup- port for the family of Trayvon Martin following his tragic death, and the nationwide evidence of unified response (hoodies everywhere!) in the call for justice are inspiring signs of a renewed spirit among

You’ve seen the numbers in this space before.


Americans and others committed to correcting the obvious inequities exposed in the wake of this travesty. Clearly, nothing we encounter in the world of business can be equated to the senseless slaying of this young man, but as Dr. King taught us in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “… injustice anywhere is a threat to justice every- where…” We are clear that there is no way the shock, hurt and grief Trayvon’s family endures because of the absolutely inhu- man conduct of one misguided individ- ual can be compared to the struggles of businessmen and women. We can’t help, however, but draw parallels to the inequity Black business owners must contend with each and every day. When the deck is stacked against you… when the courts rule against you… when financial institutions refuse to extend credit to you… when even the govern- ments you support through your tax dollars can’t bring themselves to pro- vide equitable access to opportunity… well, you get the picture.

As a class, the businesses we work hard to represent face odds NO other group faces in this country. And just as there are - incredibly - voices that somehow defend the series of bad deci- sions that resulted in the senseless snuffing out of a young life, there are those who believe there is nothing wrong with a marketplace that delivers fractional percentage points of opportu- nity to Black-owned businesses.

According to the Census Bureau, there are 1.9 million privately held Black-owned businesses across every industry sector in the United States. We employ over 921,000 persons, and gen- erate $137.5 billion in annual revenue. Per the Nielsen Company, African Americans spend over a TRILLION hard-earned dollars in the U.S. econo- my. Tragically, even this record spend- ing does not translate to reciprocity in the form of contracting/vendor rela- tionships from the corporations that benefit from our spending. Tragically, the giant loopholes in reg- ulations guiding federal, state and local utilization of ethnic minority suppliers allow for interpretations that boggle the mind - and devastate our businesses and their hope for a brighter future. It is beyond unfortunate that it takes the senseless slaying of a future business- man, a future lawyer, a future elected official, a future husband and father to cause us to take stock of all the inequity around us, but it is the re-awakened sense of outrage that will fuel our com- mitment to correct the wrongs we see around us. And though our commit- ment to improving opportunities for Black-owned businesses across this country is solid and sincere, the out- pouring of support for justice in Florida fortifies us and strengthens our resolve to “… stay on the battlefield…” There is no doubt that the same ener- gy that awakened so many of us to Trayvon’s murder is the same energy that will drive our achieving economic parity in America’s marketplace.

Ron Busby, U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. Defender Platform Since 1905

1. Prejudice and racism in all of its forms must be eliminated and destroyed. 2. Racial profiling and police brutality must be removed from police practices. 3. Reparations, or remediation, must be the final chapter in the arduous ordeal of slav- ery and legal segregation.

4. Opportunities for inclusion and advancement in all unions must be unrestricted. 5. Full access to government contracts for all.

6. Representation in all police and fire departments must reflect the community they serve.

7. Increase access and availability for quality, affordable housing for all. 8. Establish a living and fair wage as a fundamental right for all Americans. (Revised January 1966, May 2001)


Col. (Ret.) Eugene F. Scott (Publisher) 2000-2003 David M. Milliner (Publisher) 2003 - 2004

President: Michael A. House Exec. Dir. of Fin & Bus Op: Carol E. Bell Exec. Dir. of Advertising: Frances Jackson

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Guns, society and the law Dear editor,

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, by a neighborhood watchman has raised questions about Florida's “Stand Your Ground” law - and similar laws in 20 states. The killing also points to the issue of personal gun ownership in America, which the Supreme Court recently decided is an inherent element of “ordered lib- erty.”

In the 2010 case, McDonald v. Chicago, the Court “incorporat- ed” the Second Amendment, meaning that states and munici- palities may no longer infringe upon “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” In other words, local gun control meas- ures are now sharply constrained by parameters set by the Court (parameters that the dissent said

are impractical and poorly defined).

In the majority and concurring opinions, Court justices present- ed an extensive historical exami- nation of gun rights during the past three centuries - particularly in the context of the African- American experience. Before and after the Civil War, blacks were systematically disarmed and prevented from adequately defending themselves against a hostile white population, as the Court documents. The solution today, as it should have been then, is to protect the “fundamental” right to bear arms for self- defense, the Court concluded. “The use of firearms for self- defense was often the only way black citizens could protect them- selves from mob violence,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote regarding tumultuous the post-


We welcome letters to the editor via mail, fax, or Internet. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and should refer to issues vital to the Chicago Defender’s readership, or subject matter published

Civil War period. “Without feder- al enforcement of the inalienable right to keep and bear arms, these [racist] militias and mobs were tragically successful in waging a campaign of terror against the very people the Fourteenth Amendment had just made citi- zens.”

Dissenting justices took issue with the majority's interpretation of history and the law. “The Constitution's text, history, and structure are not so clear on the matter before us, as evidenced by the groundbreaking nature of today’s fractured decision; and this Court lacks both the technical capacity and the localized expert- ise to assess the wisdom, need, and propriety of most gun-control measures,” wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.

Bruce T. Murray

in the Chicago Defender. Please include your address and com- plete name.

Mail Letters to: Chicago Defender 4445 S.King Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60653. Fax: (312) 225-9231 e-mail:

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