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Community Advocacy Organization

More than 1,000 Black Business Leaders Gather for the 123rd National Black Business Conference ATL

ATLANTA, GA – August 31, 2023 – Amidst a challenging economic landscape that often excludes Black businesses, the 123rd National Black Business Conference marked a significant stride towards unifying efforts for economic transformation.

Facilitated by the National Alliance for Black Business (NABB), along with founding members of the World Conference of Mayors and Historic Black Towns and Settlements, the conference convened from August 23 to 27, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel. This gathering brought together over 1,000 registered Black businesses and professionals.

Hosted by the Atlanta Business League, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, and Greater Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce, the conference was presented by Comerica Bank and Amazon.

Distinguished leaders within the Black economic empowerment movement, including Black America's Attorney General, Benjamin Crump, leaders from 24 African and Caribbean countries, lent their voices to unify Black business leadership and economic empowerment.

"We are breaking free from the shackles of inequality and exclusion," proclaimed Charles H. DeBow, III, President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. "Our community possesses the innate potential for both business and communal success. We can no longer rely on a toxic political and private sector environment that has consistently let us down. The time has come for us to reclaim our historical greatness, predating the construct of race and the economic caste system."

At the prestigious Booker T. Washington Black-Tie Awards Gala, Benjamin Crump, delivered an inspiring keynote address. He emphasized the urgency of equipping the next generation with the tools for economic justice, advocating for intelligence cultivation and job creation as essential countermeasures against the enduring struggle for opportunities.

The conference's theme, "We Are Together," resonated deeply throughout the event, highlighting the collective commitment of Black business leagues, chambers, and organizations to implement a unified Black business agenda inspired by Booker T. Washington's visionary model. Hundreds of representatives participated in Pan-African Diaspora Day, with many hundreds more engaging in over 34 workshops and numerous panel discussions led by leading experts. The conference also featured a dynamic Black Business Expo,showcasing hundreds of exhibitors from across the globe.

“In 2023, we find ourselves returning to the foundational model envisioned by Booker T. Washington,” said Johnny Ford, Founder and President of the World Conference of Mayors. “The current economic climate necessitates a resurgence of industry and the establishment of a robust economic base within the Black community, both nationally and internationally.”

Amidst the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent ban on Affirmative Action and mounting lawsuits challenging race-based economic programs, Black businesses continue to grapple with economic disparity and inequality. This critical need for collective action served as the catalyst for the assembly of the 123rd National Black Business Conference. It pays homage to the pioneering vision of Booker T. Washington, the founder of the National Negro Business League (now known as The National Business League) in 1900. This historic organization marked the first significant step towards empowering Black businesses during an era of intense anti-Black discrimination and racial animosity.

“In the face of today’s anti-Black business climate, our community’s liberation hinges upon becoming self-sustaining employers and industry proprietors,” asserted Dr. Ken L. Harris, President and CEO of The National Business League. “With a robust economic foundation in every Black community, we can chart a course toward reconstruction, mirroring the remarkable achievements of our ancestors, tracing back to the storied days of Kemet, now known as Egypt.”

As the 123rd National Black Business Conference concluded, a rallying cry resounded: it is time to take a stand against those who do not respect the Black community and its economic impact. In this pivotal moment, the unity forged during the conference promises to ignite a transformational journey towards lasting Black economic freedom, empowerment, and liberation.


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