NGLCC Presents: Out for Biden - Small Business Event

| By Sarah Jester

On Friday, September 4, 2020 the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) partnered with LGBTQ+ for Biden to host an Out for LGBTQ+ Business town hall with Ashley Biden and Rep. Angie Craig. NGLCC’s historic endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket seeks to promote equality for all LGBTQ+ citizens living across the nation, which was a focal point of discussion during the town hall. The event featured a number of LGBTQ+ business owners, affiliate chamber leaders, and political figures, including Ashley Biden.

Ms. Biden spoke about her background as a social worker and a fellow small business owner at the beginning of the event. She discussed her father’s values and embrace of the LGBTQ+ community as an ally, citing the immense need for change in the presidential administration. Ms. Biden also introduced Justin Nelson, Co-Founder & President of NGLCC, who emphasized the need to include LGBT-owned businesses in the federal procurement system under a Biden administration. Nelson in turn introduced Rebecca Waggoner, the Executive Director of Quorum, Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce.

“Like Joe Biden, we want to build a bigger, stronger, more equitable economy, promote entrepreneurship, tackle structural racism, and end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people,” she said.

Waggoner was followed by Zaylore Stout, acclaimed author and Certified LGBTBE® owner. Stout, who works to help small and medium-sized businesses understand local, state, and federal laws, said that there were three things he would need most as a small business owner under a Biden administration.

“Access to financial independence, access to capital for growth, [and] stability in the economy as well as fairness in the tax code,” he explained. 
Other speakers included Chris Lugo, Executive Director of OUT Georgia Business Alliance, and Gabrielle Claiborne, Co-Founder & CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide. Claiborne discussed her concerns about the Trump administration’s attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community and her hopes for the future.

“I need to know that the [many] acts of discrimination committed against the trans and nonbinary community by the current administration will be reversed,” she said to the audience.

Nicole Alvarez of Law Offices of Nicole Alvarez P.A. had hope for a significant change in policy under a new Biden administration.

“With this Biden-Harris ticket, so many things in the legal world are going to open up so that everyone can be treated under the law equally,” she explained.

The focus of the conversation remained on the work left ahead to do to ensure that Biden is elected in November. Steve Adkins, President & CEO of the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, took extra care to emphasize the need for this work.

“We pledge to work with NGLCC and all of the other political advocacy organizations to ensure that everyone is registered to vote and that everyone does get out and vote in the November election,” he said. “It couldn’t be more important to LGBTQ Americans.”

As the speakers wrapped up, Rhett Buttle, Biden’s campaign advisor for business engagement, was introduced. Buttle discussed the four phases of the administration’s Build Back Better program, which is intended to help businesses, including LGBTQ+ small business owners, recover economically from the setbacks of the last several months. Phase 1 involves distributing coronavirus relief to the small businesses who need it most, while Phase 2 involves opening up and increasing access to capital. Phase 3 focuses on procurement, and opening up additional opportunities to small business owners. Lastly, Phase 4 works to level the overall playing field by giving small business owners a fair shot at contracting opportunities.

Buttle also listed a variety of ways to involve small businesses in supporting the Biden-Harris ticket as the election approaches. Depending on your role within your organization, this could involve showing support for the ticket in your store or on your site, making voter registration materials available, encouraging your employees to vote and giving them time off to do so, and more.

The conversation concluded with a few powerful words from Representative Angie Craig of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, one of ten out elected LGBTQ+ officials in Congress.

“We need to build on the momentum and continue fighting for progress, and one way we can do that, one clear way we can do that, is to fight to elect leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” she said.

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You can view the full town hall here. For information on upcoming events, click here.