The group hosted its second forum focusing on two important issues currently facing the African American community, education and small business entrepreneurship. The first panel was "Crisis In Our Schools", and the second panel was "Contracting With Our Small Businesses".
The forum was moderated by Tommy Ross, Chairman of the Research & Policy Institute with special guest panelists: Senator Gloria Romero, 24th District, Scott Plotkin, Executive Director of the California School Boards Association, Dr. Rex Fortune, Founder of Fortune Schools, Aubry Stone, President of California Black Chamber of Commerce, Joel Ayala, Director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GoED), and Louis Stewart, Asst. Deputy Director of California Business Investment Services (GoED).
"I feel that this year's program exceeded our expectations and showed a need to discuss the crisis in education more thoroughly. The economic development workshop was equally informative. Issues that rose from both sessions will be fully explored. We're excited about planning a stakeholders meeting with the California School Boards Association," said Cheryl Brown, Co-Founder of California Black Media.
Between the panels, CBM hosted its annual Newsmakers Luncheon honoring three key leaders throughout the state. Honorees of this year's newsmaker award included Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP, Aubry Stone, President of the California Black Chamber of Commerce and Jerome Horton, Vice-Chair of the Board of Equalization.
Aubry Stone is the President of the California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), an organization that promotes economic development through business creation, growth and sustainability. He is also the Director of the California Black Chamber Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to the education of African American youth and young adults.
Mr. Stone was nominated by the California Black Media for his leadership and dedication in organizing the California Black Chamber of Commerce and increasing interest and awareness of small business entrepreneurship, procurement opportunities and employment in the African American communities of California.
Alice Huffman has been the President of the California NAACP since January 2000. Under her leadership, the organization has accelerated into one of the most sought after organizations in California's policy arena. Huffman is also President, and CEO of her consulting firm A.C. Public Affairs, Inc. (ACPA). Ms. Huffman was nominated by the California Black Media for her leadership as president of the state NAACP organization, for influencing policies on major issues facing people of color and for improving the visibility of NAACP by establishing a state office.