A very successful Black entrepreneur, Robert Johnson came to Pittsburgh and signed a lucrative contact with the Pittsburgh Corporations. The truth of it is that it was a public relations coup for the corporations and they got maximum media coverage. OppsPlace.com is selling what a number of local organizations have been advocating on for at least 60 years. I won’t mention some of the best-known advocates, because they were compelled to be in attendance.
It is insulting and denigrating that those local competent Black males and females are forced to leave Allegheny County to seek and find gainful employment across the country. I was in attendance at a birthday party and met Blacks who left Pittsburgh seeking gainful employment and there were those making it big in Kansas, California, Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Denver, Colo., and Chicago.
It is disappointing to me, but not surprising that the local corporations would rather present the impression that they would hire more Blacks through an out of state organization, instead of a local group. OppsPlace is a disappointment to me, because Bob Johnson has a legacy of being a successful businessperson. He comes into Pittsburgh in 2012 advocating that our best and brightest minds seek employment with the man. It reminds me of the saying that the man sends his sons and daughters to college to establish as many corporations as possible, and we send our children to college to seek employment in those corporations.
In my estimation there is a more worthwhile program, URBAN PIONEERS that will take place April 7. It will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2001 Wylie Ave. from 9-11 a.m. Allow me to explain why I am so enthused about the program. First of all when you look at our neighborhoods across the entire county you see no business districts, and this program may be able to help you. How? to start a business, expand your existing business and possibly help bring a vision that you may have to life. The presenter is a local Black female, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Her name is Janette Williams Smith, who graduated from Perry High, and then graduated from Penn University and currently is a principle partner in the family business.
I asked her to articulate what her primary concerns are and she stated with no hesitation in the following order and with the same degree of concern, family and a great concern about the overwhelming problems that stifle the growth of small business. I looked up the definition of pioneer and it stated one, who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory.
Bob Johnson’s organization’s name says it all, OppsPlace (the corporations played us again).
The time is long overdue that Blacks pay their own way, send a contribution to Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)