DAP History Made Again
The City of San Antonio passed the second version of the Diversity Action Plan on October 18, 2018 at the City Council Meeting by a unanimous vote of 11-0. The new plan benefits a wider group than the original plan to include business owners who identify as being a Veteran, LGBTQ or America’s largest diversity group, persons with disability. “The City of San Antoni is positioned to study if there is in fact true disparity with any and all of these groups. Legislation is typically advocated and passed when tremendous disparity exist within the market place. San Antonio does have an ordinance, the SBEDA or Small Business Economic Development Action plan, that addresses only cases of true discrimination – which has been proven for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Women businesses also fit in this program. While the Diversity Action Plan does not include the new groups added within the SBEDA program, it is the first step to acknowledge and to allow the case to be built. How future disparity is proven really will be the work of the city staff with its citizens” said Christopher C. Herring, who chaired the Diversity Action Plan Subcommittee for the entire 5-years and now chairs the Small Business Advocacy Committee as the Mayor’s Appointee.
SBEDA Initiative to obtain DAP approval a success! / Observer
Gianini Castillo, Global Chamber San Antonio, spoke to the Council and stated as a resident of District 1, said the plan would “open doors to business owners with disabilities and our Veterans”. She credited Herring and the committee members (Renee Harris, Jane Thomas, Stephanie Ali, Jane Gonzalez, and Irene Chavez, the newly appointed Chairwoman, Diversity Action Plan Subcommittee) and thanked the “Economic Development Department, Finance, and Transportation and Capital Improvements Departments in making the proposed plan truly World Class.”
In attendance was Oliver Hill, President of the NAACP San Antonio Branch and businessman and member NAACP, Frank Dunn.
Local Black businessman, Edward Hardemon, owner of E.H.H.ELECTRICAL SERVICES LLC, addressed the City Council and requested for more support to be paid to African American businesses who are used for their minority status. He described how Black firms are approached and brought onto the city’s request for proposals and even celebrated initially as a part of the winning bid packages, only to be cut out of the deal, and for their work to be given to a non-minority company, at much more money.
Only Council Woman Anna Sannavol spoke on the passing of the historic ordinance, by agreeing with Mr. Herring, that “the new plan took the old plan from good to great”. The Council led by Mayor Ron Nirenberg passed the measure into law.
Herring added, “we have some real good people working at the city of San Antonio – Courtney McClure in TCI, and Michael Sindon in Economic Development made my volunteer job easy over the past 5-years as we talked about how to change the plan strengthen the opportunity for minority businesses and in particular Black Owned companies. It is also a blessing to have people like Mr. TC Calvert and the Fair Contracting Coalition backing the plan – since we created it under then Mayor Julian Castro. I appreciate the NAACP role too meeting monthly with the City departments to keep an open line of communication to the City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
Jane Gonzales, CEO of MedWheels, stated that “the Diversity Action Plan is the talk of the nation. Companies like mine doubled revenues since the first plan. We must give ourselves credit to the fact that cities from around the world will look at the concerted work of the City of San Antonio.”