By Angela Simpson Buckner
JA Contributing Writer
Several residents of Washington County were all smiles as they awaited the much-anticipated arrival of the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. Her motorcade rolled from Greenville Mid-Delta Regional Airport-GLH down through Highway 1 South.
The purpose for Madam Vice President Harris’ visit to Mississippi was to spread the Biden-Harris Administration’s message of financial hope to the citizens of the Mississippi Delta who are small business owners. Various reports have shown that many Black and indigenous business owner achievements pale in comparison to other ethnic groups in American society. Most Black business owners have complained that they have limited financial options available for growing a small business, especially in a state like Mississippi.
According to Greenville’s Mayor, Errick Simmons, “There is no progress without the support of our small businesses and small communities. Federal partners are our key to small businesses and communities’ future success and you couldn’t ask for better partners than this administration and Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, given the historic investments that we are seeing now.” Mayor Simmons goes on to state that small businesses in areas like Greenville are the backbone of this nation.
The first stop Vice President Harris made was to a local business called Joycee’s Fabrics and Sewing Center. Joyce Johnson is a small business owner who used her savings to open her dream shop. Joycee’s has been a successful fixture in Greenville since 1994. However, when the pandemic hit, her business suffered financially.
Johnson expressed, “Today I had a very special guest to come by my store and we were so glad to have her. This was a very special visit for me because Vice President Harris and I were taught to sew from our mothers and grandmothers. What you may not know is, like many small business owners, COVID-19 threatened my livelihood. I had to make serious decisions whether I could keep Joycee’s open, but thanks to Hope Credit Union and programs like Paycheck Protection Program, I found out that I had options to keep my dream open and my hope alive.”
MVP Harris conveyed her nostalgic memories of the one thing she had in common with Joycee’s owner. She further stated, “Over the past two years, like so many communities around our nation, you have faced incredible challenges and you have met those incredible challenges with incredible strength. Greenville is a place built by the ambition and the aspirations of its people.”
Mississippi is a red state and several citizens have expressed that they have not been allowed a fair chance to compete with the rest of society. Many locals like Johnnie B. Thomas said he desires to witness the monetary opportunities trickle down to the right people. “I’m hoping that the federal government will partner with the local government instead of having to go through those red states, and they never get down to the blue of us. The red states just never hand it down. Why not partner with the people where the rubber meets the road and that will do what we need. We can trust that.”
The Biden-Harris Administration has made it their business to make money available where it will be possible for many “mom and pop” businesses to secure a loan from financial institutions like Hope Credit Union. For more information on Hope Credit Union and the services they provide, visit www.hopecu.org.