In a recent pivotal conference call, Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media brought together two influential voices, Danetta Jackson, the Statewide Diversity Program Manager for the Department of General Services, and Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate, to delve into the comprehensive implementation of Assembly Bill 2019 (AB 2019). Enacted in 2022, this legislation bears profound implications for California’s small businesses, with a particular focus on fostering growth and inclusivity within ethnic media outlets.
AB 2019 builds upon existing laws mandating state agencies to designate small business liaisons. These liaisons are responsible for addressing complaints and enhancing small business participation. What sets AB 2019 apart is its requirement for these liaisons to craft an “economic equity first” action plan, specifically targeting outreach to women, minorities, and LGBTQ-owned businesses.
Danetta Jackson, in unveiling the colossal annual purchases conducted by the state of California, emphasized the legislation’s commitment to directing 25% of these contracting dollars to certified small businesses, with an additional 3% dedicated to disabled spectrum businesses. This commitment aligns with the state’s dedication to supporting small and minority-owned businesses, especially in the post-COVID economic recovery landscape.
Jackson further underscored the implementation goals of AB 2019, emphasizing the mandate for every state department to formulate an “economic equity first” action plan. This plan requires agencies to conduct targeted outreach to women, minorities, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. State agencies are now obligated to provide detailed reports on procurement participation by small businesses and underrepresented groups, addressing the lack of diversity among contractors participating in state contracts.
Tara Lynn Gray, bringing her wealth of experience to the discussion, highlighted the mission of her office in advocating for small businesses and advancing economic resiliency and recovery. Gray described AB 2019 as a mechanism for creating a platform to build services for small businesses, thereby adding value to their operations.
The discussion underscored the pivotal role of ethnic media in diversifying the state’s pool of certified small businesses. Jackson’s revelation of only four ethnic media small businesses in the state’s database, with two holding current certifications, prompted a call to action. Ethnic media owners were urged to register as small businesses, ensuring eligibility for the benefits outlined in AB 2019 and aligning with the legislation’s intent to promote economic equity and inclusion.
In conclusion, the conference call provided a profound exploration of AB 2019’s objectives, offering insights from both Danetta Jackson and Tara Lynn Gray. The dialogue served not only as an informative session but also as a compelling call to action for ethnic media owners, urging them to actively participate in California’s small business initiatives. The collective efforts aim to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse business landscape in the state.
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