Annual political party conventions can be a lucrative venture, earning local municipalities upwards of $100 million for a single event. With the 2020 Republican National Convention scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, local leaders are seeking to share that economic impact with minority populations, according to Black Enterprise.
Corine Mack, President of the Charlotte NAACP, is working to ensure that black businesses — particularly those owned by black women — have an opportunity to profit from the convention. Mack is targeting 50% of the total vendors to be operated by people of color, with 30% of the total being black business owners. Mack is also seeking for the RNC to fund implicit bias and cultural proficiency training leading up to and during the convention, to help white people recognize their own biases.
“In making a decision to do better and be better,” she said, “it allows us to build a bridge of understanding and inclusion.”
Charlotte’s political leaders have openly stated that minorities, women, and other diversity groups should be well-represented among convention vendors. City Councilman James Mitchell has proposed that the RNC aim to give 30% of the vendor contracts to minorities and women. RNC officials have been unable to substantiate that target, citing that it is still very early in the process, but have claimed to be committed to making sure that black businesses are hired as vendors.
Charlotte RNC fundraising efforts are ahead of schedule, host committee says https://t.co/0lz4c2waZP— Ronnie Glassberg (@ronnieglassberg) October 15, 2018
John Lassiter, CEO of the Charlotte 2020 Host Committee, was also supportive of the initiative.
“The Charlotte 2020 Host Committee is working to create a workforce and vendor opportunity strategy with a focus on local and regional spend, inclusivity, and diversity. We want diverse residents and businesses, including black-owned businesses, to help showcase our community and realize the economic benefits of this major event. While it is too early to discuss specifics related to our vendor strategy, we are intentional with our efforts.”
The 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte brought nearly $164 million in economic impact to the city, a record for a single event. The 2020 RNC will be looking to break that record. The largest recorded economic impact was from the 2016 RNC in Cleveland, which totaled just under $189 million.
Convention vendors are hired to provide a wide range of goods and services at the convention, including transportation, food, contracting, and other assistance. The Charlotte area is home to over 13,000 businesses owned by African-American entrepreneurs.
The Republican National Convention’s official website is currently gauging interest from potential businesses and vendors.