Black business leaders threaten to boycott San Francisco

Tourism is San Francisco's leading industry but one group says it's not getting a fair share and is threatening to call for a visitors boycott.
December 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Tourism is San Francisco's leading industry but one group says it's not getting a fair share and is now threatening to call for a visitors boycott.

"We really don't even want a boycott. We want jobs and contracts," Fred Jordan told ABC7 News. Jordan is president of the San Francisco African-American Chamber of Commerce. He says black residents are being shut out of the city's multi-billion dollar tourism industry, whether it's building the new cruise ship terminal or working in the downtown hotels.

Now, black convention planners nationwide are being notified of a potential boycott. "If you do not include us in your economics and your economy, then we're going to ask our people and the organizations that we belong to, to spend your dollars someplace else," Jordan said.

His chamber specifically blames SF Travel, the visitors bureau that receives city money to boost tourism. In a statement, the head of SF Travel said, "Any issue that diminishes San Francisco's standing as a welcoming and inclusionary community is of major concern to San Francisco Travel."

Calina Palmer works at a salon on Fillmore Street and she believes promoting black-owned businesses could help. "Every time people come from out of town, they say I never even knew there were black-owned salons," she said.

Numbers for 2013 are not in yet, but in 2012, 16.5 million visitors came to San Francisco and spent nearly $9 billion. The African-American Chamber's primary goal is employment in the industry. Kevin Carroll of the San Francisco Hotel Council says a recent survey shows they are diverse.

"We believe our African-American percentage is close to what the city's percentage of African-Americans would be, and we work with most of the programs that San Francisco has to help outreach and hire people from all sorts of communities as well," he told ABC7 News.

The black Chamber believes it's not enough and hopes for a meeting on January 6.


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