New York Council members, Andy King, Stephen Levin, and Peter Koo, has proposed new legislation in relation to COVID-19 grants for Minority Women-owned Business Enterprise businesses.
While introducing the legislation at a City Council Meeting on Wednesday September 23, 2020, the council members stated that the assistance would be provided for small business owners that did not receive city, state, or federal assistance.
With this legislation, the commissioner of small business services will establish and operate a program to provide grants to partially or fully fund the operating expenses of businesses impacted by Covid-19.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit New York City’s small businesses hard and with this new legislation, LS# 14955, MWBEs will receive grants that can help lift the economic burden due to the pandemic.
According to an article from NY1 News in 2019 in 2019, only 3% of the city’s small businesses are owned by African Americans and around 350,000 are owned by women.
Many MWBEs in The Bronx have felt the effects of COVID-19 including White Diamond Barber and Beauty Hut.
Owner Terina Pearce says, “Due to covid-19 my business took a huge downfall. Clients cancelled appointments booked months in advance and we had to send out refunds.
“Not to mention the bills going sky high from rent, cable, con-ed, insurance, and water. If this new legislation comes out it would help the business tremendously.”
Owner of JP Design, Inc. Zevilla Jackson Preston also shared her thoughts on Minority and Women Owned Businesses.
She said, “When addressing social ills, politicians often talk about the most vulnerable in society.
“Unfortunately, this focus on the ‘most vulnerable among us’ disappears when the discussion moves to economic empowerment.”
She continues, “Black people have been disadvantaged member of American society for over 400 years.
“As a result, we lag in every metric used to gather data, particularly, in the area of economic parity. The question is not what the NYC council will do for ‘minorities’, but what is it prepared to do for the Black business owners, the ‘most vulnerable’ business owners in NYC.”
She added that the historical record has shown over and over again that policies and legislation put forth to benefit minorities inures to the benefit of all ethnic groups except Black people.
“So I want to encourage the City Council to formulate legislation that will address historical disparities that continue to uniquely plague Black business owners in NYC,” she concluded.