LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – A new committee dedicated to seeking a way to remedy a lack of Black-owned businesses and employees was formed by the NuLu Board of Directors.
The board approved the formation of the committee on July 17. The committee will be led by a Black business member of the NuLu association, who will also take a seat on the Board of Directors.
“It is our intention to add member and non-member individuals to that committee who can add value to its mission,” NuLu Business Association Board President Rick Murphy said. “We also plan to interact with Black civic and religious organizations that will help us accomplish our goals.”
The association said individual member stakeholders have pledged $20,000 to launch an inclusivity incubator program with a goal to attract and assist Black-owned business start-ups with a business plan, entity creation, and applications for funding.
The association also said it believes this new committee will address some of the recent concerns and demands sent to NuLu business owners.
Many of the goals in the documents, including increasing Black business ownership and employment, have been embraced, the association said. Group equity, diversity and inclusion training opportunities also will be provided by the association.
“Clearly the requirements, asked for in those documents, would not be financially or physically possible for the majority of small business owners,” Murphy said. “Many businesses are already struggling to keep their doors open following years of lost business from the closing of the Convention Center and now COVID-19.”
The new board is also planning to host periodic roundtable discussions with the areas Metro Council representative and other civic leaders.
Protest organizer Phelix Crittenden said the effort is a small step forward, but a good one.
“I’m proud, you know, a lot of people were questioning our actions of being in that occupation in the first place, but we started this conversation,” Crittenden said. ”And this is proof that this conversation needed to exist, and this is proof that these businesses can contribute to this conversation in some sort of way.”
Crittenden said there have been discussions with NuLu leaders about an upcoming meeting.
“You have these open forums about how we can diversify these communities,” Crittenden said. “They are bringing in wealth. Nobody is saying NuLu isn’t cool. We love NuLu, and we love what it represents for the growth of this city, but we just think it should be a little bit more reflective of how diverse this city actually is.”