LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK
Throughout our Black communities, there is ongoing criticism that MBE/WBE/DBE programs have been an absolute failure. The question generally is why? In my estimation the reasons are not complicated, but widespread. The developers, who are 99.9 percent White, have absolutely no concern about inclusionn and the White general contractors, to a lesser degree, have the identical attitude. Those elected to office are generally the financial recipients of those two factions, and therefore lack sincere concern. Then there are Blacks who are elected to political positions and serve on governmental bodies such as Allegheny County Council, Pittsburgh City Council, URA Board, Pittsburgh Water Authority, Pittsburgh Housing Authority, Allegheny County Port Authority, and Allegheny County Community College. I challenge the overwhelming majority of them to prove to all communities that the overall percentages they constantly make public are accurate. I am constantly reminded when I read these grossly inflated statistics of the old saying, “figures don’t lie, statisticians do.”
In all fairness I can’t in good conscience absolve those with the titles, who make a good salary, become the mouth pieces for their employers, portray the MBE/WBE/DBE in a exaggerated positive light, and when confronted, use the worn out alibis that they have no power, need their jobs, insurance benefits, pension—and the most frequent, “I must support my family.” My question is, how long do you provide for your families at the expense of so many others who have families to provide for?
Ask yourself as you ride through the city of Pittsburgh and you see the building ongoing, particularly in neighborhoods where there are a large percentage of Blacks living, how many Blacks do I see working? I remember a year ago as they laid asphalt on Lincoln Avenue and Frankstown Avenue Blacks were invisible. That was not totally the politicians and contractors fault. Whose was it? It was yours and mine, because we said not a mumbling word, and until we speak out and act up nothing will change.
There is more than enough blame to go around, White folks, Black folks, White and Black politicians, churches, and organizations. It goes without saying that there exists in our neighborhoods a multitude of organizations and there is a duplication of services, a few unique organizations, and of course we have those who would be HNIC. However there is a common denominator that all of us can agree on and work in a cohesive manner to achieve: the eradication of denying Blacks the opportunity to share in the American dream, and being afforded the opportunity to provide for our families.
Kingsley Association needs your help.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)