Dr. Matthew Ajiake
Message from the President
The San Francisco African America Chamber of Commerce, like the rest of society is at a critical point in our existence, a time when change and adaptation are inevitable as ethnic chambers of commerce respond to issues, particularly in an increasingly hyper-partisan society and divisive culture that has historically been unfair to its African American brothers and sisters in contracting, employment, access to capital to name a few of the many systemic and institutional discriminatory practices.
Following our January 2020 Retreat, the SFAACC committed itself to re-imagine what small business advocacy and support means for our San Francisco membership and, as we engage with other chambers of commerce to advocate for similar issues and concerns. As we all agree, San Francisco is the greatest city in the world and has long been recognized as America’s incubator of innovative ideas and cultural guide. As we press forward, we must leverage this international cachet to our organization’s advantage and it begins by engaging our stakeholders by employing new and dynamic strategies and methods.
While our focus to advocate and support African American small businesses in San Francisco is our principal imperative, we are cognizant of the fact that small businesses and their owners live and belong to a much broader society than just the four walls of the enterprise which also includes the following six underpinnings: (1) contracts and employment, (2) housing, (3) education, (4) healthcare and (5) socio-economic sustainability and (6) demographic stabilization. During our 2020 Retreat, we also committed to creating a 10-Year Strategic Plan for the San Francisco African American community. This Plan will focus on these five strategic pillars and use them to guide and inform the appropriate approaches for engagement, advocacy and responds to everyday challenges our stakeholders face in all sectors of society—public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
While we recognize the historical and institutional biases that have adversely impacted our African American community to the point of decimating our population in San Francisco, as a non-partisan business and community advocacy organization, we have chosen to be part of the solution in addressing these inequalities and positioning our community on an upward trajectory for sustainable development and growth both in this and future generations. In addressing our issues, we will rely on facts, existing data, and verifiable information to advance practical and sustainable solutions. and negotiate mutually beneficial alliances with like-minded businesses and groups.
As such, the SFAACC invites business leaders and owners in every sector, politicians and bureaucrats, scholars and practitioners, minority and underserved and indigenous groups, and friends, young and old to join us in this re-imagining journey to reach a destination where a more just and inclusive San Francisco. An international, cosmopolitan city where the contributions of the African American community—especially the business community—are recognized and celebrated with those of other San Franciscans.
Dr. Matthew Ajiake