Rep. Meyers-Martin Receives Award for Legislative Efforts (Matteson, IL) – This afternoon, State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin received the Legislator of the Year Award from the Southland Black Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This award was presented to Rep. Meyers-Martin at her office in Matteson.
According to Southland Black Chamber President Dr. Cornel Darden Jr., State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin “has been an incredible resource to the chamber and it’s membership, especially during these last several months. Rep. Meyers-Martin has remained accessible, steadfast, and committed to the residents and businesses in the Southland.” Dr. Darden explained that the decision to impart this award on Meyers-Martin was an easy one, citing some recent legislation she assisted the chamber in passing.
SB1792 was passed in January by the 101st General Assembly. The bill, called the “Predatory Loan Prevention Act,” included an article that addressed the disparities in the Black beauty supply industry. Article 20 of the act calls for Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to conduct a disparity study that evaluates whether intentional discrimination exists in the personal care products supplier industry. According to Dr. Darden, a disparity study is a necessary first step in taking action against any type of discrimination. “Through conducting a proper disparity study, we can move forward with the proof needed to take legislative action to help stop the discrimination.” You can see a copy of the act by clicking the file below. Article 20 begins on page 76.
Dr. Darden continued by describing what transpired that led him to take on this effort with Rep. Meyers-Martin. “Earlier this year, I was contacted by Alderman Sherman Jenkins of Aurora, who also sits as Chairman of the Board of the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce. He knew of a Black-owned beauty supply store in Matteson that was in need of assistance. I reached out to Black Kiss Beauty Supply and heard the owner’s story. She was getting blocked left and right when attempting to purchase from wholesalers. She was getting shamed by the vendors. She was unable to stock her store with the products her customers wanted. Her story was heartbreaking, but her attitude and determination was inspirational. We reached out to Rep. Meyers-Martin and she immediately got to work.”
The disparities that exist in the Black beauty supply industry are vast. A majority of beauty supply stores and wholesalers are owned by Korean-Americans. According to a study from 2017, Black consumers spend about $473 million on hair care every year, more than any other ethnic group, while owning less that 1 percent of the market share.
Rep. Meyers-Martin Receives Award for Legislative Efforts