The Crusader Newspaper Group

Blacks Need to Challenge the Shutdown

Beyond the Rhetoric By Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow

When America gets a “cold” Blacks will come down with “pneumonia.” That is why we are going to suffer from the current federal shutdown more than any other segment of the United States population. Yet, Blacks in general look at this calamity like it isn’t any of our business. Our people, we better wake-up i.e. SNAP OUT OF IT! While our elected officials on Capitol Hill are playing games like it is fun, millions of families – particularly Black families are heading to financial disaster. A disproportionate number of federal employees are Black. A major portion of Blacks doing government business is the sector doing federal contracting and subcontracting. They are in the way of this “Economic Freight Train.”

So where are the Black organizations? The National Black Chamber of Commerce appears to be the only group seriously concerned about this growing Armageddon. The news and updates about the issue are everywhere but our Black organizations are silent. It is now a month and two paycheck periods and millions of our federal workers and contractors have received nothing. The only businesses prospering from this tragedy are pawn shops and check cashing rip-off joints. Rent payments, mortgages, medical bills, tuition payments and other serious financial obligations are in deep jeopardy.

What is the National Black Chamber of Commerce doing?  We have joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 44 other national organizations. Also, nearly 300 local affiliated chambers belonging to the U.S. Chamber federation have joined in as co-signers of the letter. Together we have written a letter to the President and members of Congress.

Here is the letter:

January 18, 2019


On behalf of the American business community, we urge Congress and the administration to immediately take steps to restore the full operation of the federal government.

The current shutdown – now the longest in American history – is causing significant and in some cases lasting damage to families, businesses, and the economy. The harm is well documented and continues to compound with each passing day.

Since the shutdown began, various compromises have been floated by both Republicans and Democrats. There are numerous paths forward that would allow for the government to be reopened that should be acceptable to all parties. Failing to seize on one of those compromises that can pass Congress and be signed into law is unacceptable.

The time to act, the time to end this shutdown is now so that we can keep the economy moving forward.



ACA International, Aeronautical Repair Station Association, Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute, Airlines for America, American Bankers Association, American Bus Association, American Chemistry Council, American Coatings Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Financial Services, Association American Public Transportation, Association America’s SBDCs, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Association of Global Automakers, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Associated General Contractors of America, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, National Investor Relations, Institute Council for Responsible Nutrition, CCIM Institute Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, Federation of American Hospitals, Household & Commercial Products, Association Independent Lubricant Manufacturers, Association International Franchise Association, National Apartment Association, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, National Association for the Self-Employed, National Beer Wholesalers Association, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Agricultural Employers, National Electrical Contractors Association, National Grocers Association Arlington, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Multifamily Housing Council, National Retail Federation, Security Industry Association, The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), The Toy Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It is without a doubt that the above effort will have an impact in the decision making of this crucial controversy. It is too bad that other Black organizations feel or do not realize that they have “skin” in this game. The financial future of our constituents is on the line. Don’t they care? Does it matter that people who depend on them expect activities from them that benefit their vested interests?

Here are some of the actual cases of the several hundred thousand horror stories: federal employee living paycheck to paycheck with a car payment due and $11 to his name; federal workers with advanced degrees at the welfare office; new federal hires have not had their healthcare processed and they are literally splitting their prescription medicine pills in half to “stretch” the supply.

These are some of the stories that will multiply by the millions and cause very serious harm to our economic state. Please consider that the future and well-being of our nation is on the line. Let us all put the needed pressure on our President and elected officials in equal fashion and without hesitation until it is done.

Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Ms. DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the NBCC. Website: Emails: [email protected] [email protected].

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