Statement by African American Mayors Association on Federal Ruling ordering Minority Business Development Agency to change focus

Published on March 7, 2024

(Washington, DC) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is deeply disappointed in a Texas federal judge’s ruling that orders the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to open its doors to every race. The agency was established by executive order in 1969 under President Richard Nixon as a division of the US Department of Commerce to level the playing field by creating equity and access for minority businesses seeking government contracts and capital. For generations, minority businesses have been shut out of the process, socially and economically disadvantaged by an enterprise system that is neither free nor equal for all.

The ruling from US District Judge Mark Pittman, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is the result of a lawsuit brought by white business owners against the MBDA and applies to the agency nationwide. For more than 50 years, the MBDA has provided resources and opportunity for minority businesses in both the public and private sector through programs, policy and research, so they can achieve parity under a system that has historically limited their participation. It is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs).

“The trickle down from the Supreme Court’s ruling last year ending affirmative action continues. Everywhere that we look, the rights and freedoms of African Americans continue to be under assault. It is unfair, unjust and inhumane” said AAMA President and Mount Vernon, NY Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. “Rest assured, we will not let up. We will continue the march and the fight for equity and freedom for all.”

There are more than 9.2 million minority owned businesses in the U.S. that employ more than 8 million people, generating more than $1.8 trillion in revenue annually. These enterprises are a vital part of the U.S. economy that serve to make our economy stronger, more efficient, productive and globally competitive.