OpEd: Joliet Junior College Called out by Chicago Southland Black Chamber in Wake of Attacks on DEI Across the Country

OpEd: Joliet Junior College Called out by Chicago Southland Black Chamber in Wake of Attacks on DEI Across the Country
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OpEd: Joliet Junior College Called out by Chicago Southland Black Chamber in Wake of Attacks on DEI Across the Country (Chicago, IL) – The Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce is perturbed by the recent ruling in Texas attacking the minority business programs in that state, as well as the decision by the State of Florida to order the dismantling of the University of Florida’s DEI programs. The University of Florida fired all of its DEI officers this week. We find these decisions to be a precursor of troubling times in our country where discrimination against black businesses will be allowed to thrive, backed up by law.

Many of our Chamber members remember the Civil Rights movement and the tumultuous fight for equal rights. And now that many of them have witnessed great success in moving in the right direction, in their twilight years they are now seeing those triumphs reversed with a vengeance. The state of Black businesses in the Chicago Southland region and the State of Illinois are not where need it to be. Our fight for economic justice is ever more important. Our community colleges in Illinois as well as our state universities currently have minority participation goals of 30% which they have intentionally not met.

Joliet Junior College’s History of Discrimination in Procurement

Joliet Junior College President Clyne Namuo and Kelly Rohder-Tonelli in Will County have been an especially prominent case of intentional exclusion and discrimination in the procurement process. The Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce has advocated for years against Joliet Junior College’s hypocrisy when it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. They currently have little of it in procurement. On March 28th at 10am, the Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce will be participating in a subject matter hearing called by State Rep. LaShawn Ford. This hearing will be looking for information from the community colleges and universities regarding their efforts (or lack thereof) in minority participation in procurement.

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John Heiderschedit, Criminal Defense Attorney; Subscription Lawyer; Chicago Lawyer

As we continue to advocate for Black businesses to participate in the economic fabric of the American economy, we must not be deterred by these attacks that are taking place nationally. We must also look to home here in Illinois at institutions right in our backyard, like Joliet Junior College (which is the first Junior College in the country), where state law is flaunted, and Black businesses are being prevented from participating in procurement opportunities.

OpEd: Joliet Junior College Called out by Chicago Southland Black Chamber in Wake of Attacks on DEI Across the Country

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