House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today issued the statement below in response to the news that the state has purchased a record 19 percent of eligible goods and services through minority-owned businesses this year. Ohio’s Minority Business Enterprise program, established in 1980, requires state agencies to make some of their annual purchases for goods and services with certified minority-owned businesses.
“I am pleased that three decades after the Minority Business Enterprise program was established, Ohio is hitting the minimum benchmark of economic inclusion for minority communities.
“And while today’s news is an encouraging notch on the scale of progress, there is still much work to be done before our minority communities can feel they have equal access to economic opportunity in Ohio.
“Indeed, let us not forget that many African Americans and other minorities continue to struggle in the face of poverty and unemployment. The unfortunate reality remains that the African American unemployment rate is more than double that of their white counterparts, and almost one in every three minorities continue to live in poverty.
“These grim statistics underline the need to pursue public policies that focus on economic equality for all – not just a select few or a numerical threshold.”