PASSING OF FORMER DC MAYOR AND COUNCILMAN MARION BARRY, JR.

STATEMENT BY RON BUSBY, PRESIDENT & CEO OF THE U.S. BLACK CHAMBERS, INC. ON THE PASSING OF FORMER DC MAYOR AND COUNCILMAN MARION BARRY, JR.

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) is deeply saddened by the loss of the Honorable Marion Barry, Jr. The former mayor and councilman has left an indelible mark on the District's residents and business community. The 1967 formation of his organization, Pride Inc., made it possible for more than 1,000 D.C. Black youth to secure jobs, solidifying Barry's pledge to jump start African American economic empowerment and redevelopment in the District.

Barry was a relentless advocate in the fight for fairness and equality for D.C.'s small and minority-owned business community. Under his early leadership, for the first time, the District government redesigned its procurement and contracting process, enabling the City to experience its greatest spike in entrepreneurial growth. Barry's commitment later fueled the mandate of set-asides for minority and women contractors, who historically had been locked out of the opportunity to compete. Barry's leadership further drove the 1980s real estate boom, creating the District's first convention center, now known as the Verizon Center.

The District has indeed lost one of its greatest champions for small business and the economically disenfranchised. The USBC joins the District in mourning his loss, celebrating his life, and above all, saying thank you for his dedication to the Black business community.