Black women in construction still awaiting Jeffries’ response to their demand for inclusion

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Ann McNeill

JANS – Five weeks ago, Ann McNeill, Founder and Chair, National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC), authored a letter to the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to demand mandatory, equitable contracting goals in US DOT surface transportation contract awards. 

To date, Jeffries has not responded to NABWIC’s request to meet to discuss equitable inclusions for disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) in US DOT’s $13.1 billion surface transportation contracting.

The request was made to guarantee the inclusion of historically, disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) as mandated in President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity Through Federal Contracting.

The Act describes Congress’ findings regarding the continued need for the DBE program due to the discrimination and related barriers that pose significant obstacles for minority and women-owned businesses seeking federally assisted surface transportation work.

“The Bipartisan Congressional, intentional absence of mandated DBE goals in US DOT’s funding is in public policy opposition with President Biden’s E.O. 13985 Advancing Racial Equity Through Federal Contracting,” says McNeill.  “And the failure to established significant mandatory DBE goals on federal awarded contracts will continue to sustain, economical discriminatory harm to disadvantaged small businesses.”

Further, the alarming absence of DBE equitable contracting goals, violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which guarantees, “that no person shall on the grounds of race, color or national origin be excluded from participation, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any program, activity or service provided or funded by the federal government.”

Tina M. White, NABWIC, Chief Government Affairs Liaison, chimed in. “It is perplexing that the Black Congressional Congress (CBC) did not sound the alarm before the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Acts and Inflation Reduction Act’s billions of dollars of funding was approved.”

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Black women in construction still awaiting Jeffries’ response to their demand for inclusion

By Jackson Advocate News Service
April 22, 2024