Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NGLCCNY Is Shaping The Agenda For New York’s LGBT Business Community

2015 has been an unbelievable year for the LGBT business community nationwide— and our NGLCC & NGLCCNY family has been there for all of the excitement.  We have stood in solidarity through the triumphs and pitfalls of LGBT advocacy over the last year with all of our organizational peers. We thank the Board of Directors and leadership team of the Empire State Pride Agenda for their hard work bringing many pressing community issues to the forefront of NY policy discussions.  The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and will continue to lead the effort ensuring a level playing field for all members of our communities in New York, and nationwide.

In March, NGLCC and nearly 400 corporations and business organizations joined us in the pro-business case for marriage equality in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. In June, NGLCC stood on the steps of the court as the Justices announced that marriage equality was a right for all Americans throughout the entire country. Every day at NGLCCNY we repeated the same mantra: “Equality is good for business.” That mantra is catching and even more federal agencies are repeating it too: with the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) signing an agreement with us just last month. They now join the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Small Business Administration in including certified LGBTBEs in federal procurement opportunities.   

Despite these wins, it remains morally unacceptable that hardworking LGBT business owners are still discriminated against in corporate and government supply chains and LGBT people can still be fired from their jobs in 28 states, evicted from their homes, or denied service in restaurants and shops simply for being who they are.  The surest way to create lasting opportunities for our communities to thrive is to create economic strength that is available to all of us. 

Earlier this fall Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S to issue an executive order including certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) in contracting and procurement opportunities alongside women and minority owned businesses. This is a massive victory for LGBT business owners in MA, but also for us right here in NYC as you are now allowed to offer your businesses for bidding on contracts in The Commonwealth, as well!

Just as marriage equality quickly spread throughout the northeast, NGLCC is now focusing on shaping a similar executive order in New York. For LGBT business owners, this kind of intentional inclusion policy provides fair and equal access to business contracting opportunities that cultivate innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth throughout the state. Following implementation of California's AB1678, we’ve seen the number of Certified Suppliers in CA increase by an incredible 200%. There is a palpable excitement in the air as certified suppliers, both new and old, are contracting with the state’s utilities. Imagine the success our communities will achieve when we win the same inclusion throughout New York State, NYC, and across the nation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as Mayor DeBlasio, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, and members of the New York State Assembly each have the power to create the greatest economic advancement for LGBT citizens by welcoming LGBT-owned business at both the state and city level.   As Team NGLCC & NGLCCNY regularly meet with policy makers throughout the state, we need your support by telling your success stories and getting every LGBT business owner you know certified. 

To get involved as an NGLCCNY advocate for LGBT economic equality, add your name here.

LGBT business owners wishing to begin the certification process to eventually contract with the City and State of New York can find information and an application at my.nglcc.org

We head into 2016 with hope and optimism for another year of tremendous growth, we must commit ourselves to never leaving anyone in our community behind. As we succeed in business, we must reach down the ladder and ensure we are lifting up those who need us most.  As business leaders we can shape policy, fund innovation, and mentor the next generation of success stories that show America that the LGBT business community is, and will always be, a vital and dynamic part of this nation’s economy.  The motto of the state of New York best sums up the intentions of NGLCC & NGLCCNY as we enter this new year: "Ever Upward.” 

Jonathan Lovitz
Director, NGLCCNY

Written by Jonathan Lovitz
Director, NGLCCNY
VP of External Affairs, NGLCC

Questions about the chamber and our initiatives? Contact me at JLovitz@nglccny.org

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