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Group measures minority involvement in DNC

Coalition wants to know about contracts awarded

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Leaders of a coalition that pushed for hiring minority entrepreneurs during the Democratic National Convention now want to know how members fared.

They’re polling members to find out who received contracts or subcontracts. They want to know how much money they made and whether they were pleased overall with the Charlotte convention.

It’ll take at least two weeks to compile email feedback, said Colette Forrest with the Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition.

“Many individuals are getting back to their normal routine this week, which includes getting into the nitty gritty with their kids in school, and getting their businesses back into the swing of non-DNC clients,” Forrest said Monday.

Results will be compiled and presented to Mayor Anthony Foxx and convention leaders.

Forrest said the feedback follows through on the goal of the coalition, which formed last year to push for economic inclusion of minorities in convention work. Coalition organizers have said they have more than 100 registered members. Civil rights attorney James Ferguson II leads the group.

In February, the coalition sent a letter to convention organizers, urging significant minority involvement in the contracts awarded. Ferguson and other coalition members declined to specify what kind of goal the group had.

Then in March, convention planners announced an unprecedented diversity goal for convention spending: to spend at least one-third of contract dollars with businesses owned by a diverse range of groups. The groups included minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the gay community.

According to coalition announcements this year, at least two members won contracts. Shirley Fulton, owner of Wadsworth Estate, hosted the New Jersey and Maryland delegate party. Karen Lawrence of It’s My Affair, a meeting and event management services company, was part of the team of three firms that won the housing contract worth at least $1 million to manage hotel rooms for 6,000 delegates. Lawrence also worked as the event planner for one of the delegation parties at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

Other groups also kept an eye on who received contracts. Astrid Chirinos, executive director at the Charlotte Latin American Chamber of Commerce, said Monday at least two chamber members won significant work.

They include Victor Guzman with Promo Professor, who received a five-figure contract to produce 40,000 reusable water bottles for DNC volunteers; and Luis Tochiki, partner with Neighboring Concepts, an architectural firm involved in modifying Time Warner Cable Arena into the convention hall.

Smith: 704-358-5087
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