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Message From the Executive Director

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd’s murder led to worldwide protests of police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. This event also incited a movement to bring about economic justice for Black businesses that have not been afforded ample opportunities to grow and prosper in the state of Oregon.

On June 9, 2020, Black members, and past Chairs of the Portland Business Alliance issued a call-to-action for economic justice for all Black Oregonians. The members were Sam Brooks, Janet Campbell, Andrew Colas, Alando Simpson, and Charles Wilhoite.

These change agents determined that the George Floyd murder was a clear representation of an “Invisible Knee” that has been pressed on the necks of Black Americans as an unobservable force that has prevented Black families from building, growing, and sustaining generational wealth within the state of Oregon. They insisted that if we are to achieve justice that is lasting, and durable, we must include an unapologetic Black economic resilience agenda for our region.

The very next day, June 10, 2020, the development of the Black Economic Prosperity Agenda (BEPA) began when members of the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), the largest area chamber of commerce in Oregon, came together to unite on the economic agenda that would create an inclusive economic economy for all Oregonians. In addition, a partnership agreement was reached with the National Association of Minority Contractors – Oregon Chapter (NAMC) to be the organizational steward to ensure anonymity and mission alignment.

The goals of the BEPA are:

A Regional Dashboard of Black Prosperity

The dashboard will measure key metrics that track the economic state of Black residents in the region. The dashboard will also analyze trends and produce public reports on the progress of the BEPA.

A Strategic Plan for Black Economic Prosperity

The strategic plan will use key metrics from the dashboard to develop action items to increase economic prosperity for Black business and residents in Oregon.

A Regional Center for Black Advancement

The regional center will be a facility that provides all of the necessary space and tools Black businesses, and residents need to grow and maintain intergenerational wealth. The center will have incubator space for new businesses, office space for other Black led organizations, space for networking and educational events, mentors, technical assistance experts and a community development financial institution (CDFI).

The Black Business Association of Oregon (BBAO) is an economic development organization that strives to achieve economic equity that is sustainable and lasting in the state of Oregon. It was established to fulfill the goals of the BEPA.

I am honored to serve as the initial leader to build this much needed organization that will bring partnership, progress, and prosperity to Black Americans in Oregon.


Lance Randall Executive Director

BBAO + Community Partners Treat Students to Blazers vs. Lakers Game

Last month, the BBAO, the University of Oregon, the UO Black Alumni Network, and the Portland Trailblazers invited 40 of UO’s Black Cultural Center students to Portland for food, fun, fellowship. . .and the game.

The short programming consisted of catered food, Lance (Executive Director) welcoming the students and giving them a quick background of BBAO, and services, offering support on how to start their careers in Portland, and why Portland is a place where Black students can thrive. Wrapping the event up, Sarah Kutten (UO) spoke briefly about the Portland Internship Experience, followed by remarks from the UO Black Alumni Network President, Ericka Warren.

With full stomachs and trash-talking to some of the brave students (and community members) who wore Laker jerseys, a Blazer staff member arrived to lead the group down to their seats just before the game began. All in all, this event was a great success!

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