Contract for DC’s Black Lives Matter Plaza Awarded to White-Owned Firm

African American business owners in Washington, DC are protesting the move.

Source : Flickr

September 2, 2021

Author : Patty Rodriguez

Black Lives Matter Plaza is a two-block pedestrian street in Washington, DC, named in 2020 by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Mayor Bowser showed her support for the protests against his killing by having “Black Lives Matter” painted in 35-foot-tall letters there.

Now, the plaza is being renovated and Fort Myer Construction Company was hired for the job, and the Black Business Task Force (BBTF) isn’t pleased.

According to the Washington Informer, BBTF “said the solicitation and procurement process didn’t include a Black contractor to be seriously considered for work on a project signifying injustice and inequity toward African Americans.”

“While it could not have been challenging to find a Black contractor for this project, there is a much bigger problem that overshadows that particular slight,” said Nigel Parkinson, president and CEO of Parkinson Construction and a member of BBTF. “The problem is the lack of economic empowerment and inclusion of available Black businesses in the District and beyond.”

The DC government began conducting a disparity study this year on contracting with minority-owned businesses. Alfred Swailes, a member of BBTF, said the construction contract being awarded to Fort Myer Construction Company “clearly shows that the disparity study that was strongly recommended by the BBTF and is currently in process, is very much needed.”

The disparity study results are due next April, while work on Black Lives Matter Plaza is expected to wrap up in early October.

Photo via Flickr.

Category : Minority Business Enterprises Disparity Studies Diversity Outreach Investment in Infrastructure

Related Article