Institute President and CEO Farad Ali met with African-American elected officials from across the state of North Carolina at the 10th Annual NC Black Summit on April 23-24, 2015. The event is hosted annually by the Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials (ANCBEO) to discuss issues of importance to the African-American community such as economic development, voting rights, education, healthcare, and public safety.
The Institute has been a longstanding partner of the ANCBEO and was a Silver Level Sponsor for this year’s event. “The Institute has been one of our partners from the beginning. They are one several of our partners that help advance economic development in the community,” said ANCBEO Executive Director Courtney Crowder.
The theme of the summit was “Investing in the Next Generation.” This theme provided a platform for attendees to engage in thoughtful conversations regarding leadership, infrastructure, and economic development opportunities to enhance local communities.
The Summit featured presentations by many of the leading African American legislators serving in North Carolina including Senator Dan Blue, Representative Larry Hall, Durham Mayor William “Bill” Bell, and Democratic Senator Catherine Pugh from District 40 in Baltimore City. Although U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield could not attend this year’s event, he participated via a 10-minute video outlining key issues facing African Americans across the country.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx served as keynote speaker at the Friday evening banquet. Foxx outlined important transportation issues facing African Americans and underserved communities and his plans to help create ladders of opportunity for citizens to improve their communities by creating more accessible and less costly transportation options. Foxx, who was born and raised in North Carolina, also talked about the historical significance of a black native of North Carolina having the opportunity to serve in President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
Ali said: “The Institute’s administration of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center will help small, women-, and minority-owned companies get more involved in the transportation industry in this region. We know that opportunities in transportation can help transform communities. This occurs both by economic impact of infrastructure development, and by the lasting impact of improving access and transportation options for underserved communities.” The Institute also provides additional supportive services to develop and meet the demand for utilization of diverse businesses through its in-house Minority Business Development Center and the N.C. Women’s Business Center.
Thanks to partnership and sponsorship from The Institute and other organizations, Crowder said he was encouraged by the success of this year’s Summit and said that this 10th anniversary marked a milestone in the life of the ANCBEO. “We are taking a moment to look back on our accomplishment, and renew our commitment to making meaningful changes in the social and political life of North Carolina,” he said.