Two Virginia politicians teamed together to bring exposure to minority-owned businesses on the Peninsula on Friday, in hopes to provide diverse inclusiveness to empower a new generation of leaders.
Del. Hala S. Ayala, who represents the 51st district, and is the Democratic nominee in the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, met with the Newport News Commissioner of Revenue, Tiffany M. Boyle, at Patrick Henry Mall, to contribute to minority-owned businesses by purchasing an item from each company or by providing a forum for them to introduce their business to the media.
Ayala and Boyle met with a locally favored clothing brand store, City on my Chest, where CEO and Newport News native Tommy Reamon Jr. discussed with Ayala and Boyle about starting the company, from the T-shirt design “I’m So Newport News” to providing merchandise to over 100 cities nationwide. Reamon’s focus is to empower the local Black community and advocate for area youth. He also expressed his appreciativeness as the two politicians cared enough to “check on the little guys.”
“When you’re in a space where someone is celebrating their progress and really giving back to the community all at the same time you can’t help but to love, empower, and spread the word,” Ayala said.
“It is important to not only see the businesses holding up the infrastructure of our community, but make sure they are empowered by listening to their story and what got them started,” Ayala said.
Ayala continued to share how she is inspired to see that companies like City on My Chest are passionate about their work and proud to represent their community. The House of Delegates worked to empower entrepreneurship by implementing a diversity inclusion officer, and presenting studies on small women-owned businesses.
“We need to understand why Black-owned businesses are not faring as well as our white counterpart businesses,” she said.
Boyle said she is focused on how to improve minority businesses by finding disparities. Improvement can begin by providing government contracts on a local and statewide level. Boyle also shared that the commissioner office is still in the research phase; nevertheless, data collection is needed.
“A minority owned business is only receiving 10 percent of the government contracts on a local level, but we don’t have the data to vocalize that, we need to push for that data so we will know what the goals are, and how we can move toward a more equitable playing field,” she said.
Alexandria King says
Love this focus on minority owned businesses!
Glenn pryor says
Way to go miah ☆☆☆
Tiffany Alfred says
Well said! Thank you for bringing awareness to this, we need more data for the government contracts!
Sade Holt says
Absolutely loved this! The support of minority owned, small businesses is truly inspiring. The perfect example these politicians are leaving on young black women who aspire to be politicians is amazing. Great job on the story Ms.Cox!
Nicole Hines says
YASSSSS! Beautifully written! So very proud of you! It is always heartwarming to see the African American community represented with care, respect and professionalism! Will definitely go and support this local business after reading this article!!
I’ll always support a fellow classmate out to build our communities up.
Ashley Murray says
Very well written! It’s definitely important to obtain the data needed to get an accurate picture of what’s happening and what needs to happen.
Great read! Brilliantly written! Very concise! Glad to see that boots are on the ground to gain insight on how African American businesses can flourish locally. Awesome job!
Seth I. Jones says
A very well written, informative article. Small business is the heart and soul of this nation, and minority/women owned small businesses play an important role. Hardy congratulations to my young cousin Miah Cox, writer of this fine article.
Pastor Jason Taylor says
GREAT ARTICLE!! I agree, the bulk of the grants are being written in favor of people who do not have black or brown skin. I would love to see a spread of these funds so our communities can benefit from seeing more businesses blossom in neighborhoods around us!! Hats off to the writer!
Jasmine Owens says
This was articulated beautifully. It is so important that we stay connected to community and understand what resources are available to us. Articles such as this brings much needed awareness. Keep writing ! The world needs your voice.