Saturday, January 30, 2010

Organizing Across Organizations, Beliefs and Agendas


Norris McDonald

These are the most exciting times ever in Washington, D.C. I'm glad I stayed. I was going to move to Los Angeles but I figured I had to stay to participate in the exploits of this latest administration. For me the first year included being invited to The White House in record time. Same with meeting with the EPA administrator. I'm impressed.

Last week I participated in an energy forum sponsored by Black Enterprise magazine. This week I attended a press conference and board event by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and participated as a panelist at a forum sponsored by the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). These events and the address given by House Majority Whip James Clyburn at the AABE summit made me think about how we need to organize to get a fair share of resources for the Black community. The notion that this offends many Whites is interesting to me. President Obama cannot even address the needs of the African American community directly without seriously offending most of the White voter base.

Yet Blacks do not own energy infrastructure in the United States. AAEA, AABE, NBCC and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), among others, need to do something about that. Since the CBC has enough votes in the House to help approve or kill energy legislation, they should fashion amendments during all upcoming energy and climate legislation to provide more minority ownership opportunities of traditional and 'green' energy infrastructure, products and services. One concept I am entertaining is 'expensing' tax benefits to companies including minority protege equity partners in future energy projects. Of course, Black Enterprise could publicize this energy renaissance.

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