SPRINGFIELD — Black-owned businesses in Illinois face significant barriers to growth and opportunities that would enable them to compete with their white-owned counterparts, a problem that many Black leaders say is directly tied to Black unemployment rates and the deterioration of Black neighborhoods.
That was the message state lawmakers heard Thursday when three Senate committees held a virtual joint hearing that focused on entrepreneurship and financial development for Black business owners.
“If you drive or walk through our communities, especially on the south and west sides and other areas of the state, our areas look like a war zone,” said Sen. Mattie Hunter, a Chicago Democrat and chair of the Senate Executive Committee. “And we keep saying well, how are our communities? Why are they looking so poorer and poorer and poorer every single day? It’s because of the disparity and funding. That’s the problem, you guys.”
Thursday’s hearing was