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    ‘ENGAGE IN THE DAILY FIGHT:’ Leader of Austin black chamber of commerce points a path forward for business community

    By Lori Hawkins

    Following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and protests for social justice for black Americans, a number of Austin businesses have issued statements condemning police violence and pledging to increase diversity efforts.

    Will that make a meaningful difference to Austin’s black community, which has been largely on the sidelines of the region’s economic boom over the past decade?

    That depends on whether companies are willing to step beyond public relations to real action, said Tam Hawkins, CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce.

    “It’s great that companies have made public statements,” Hawkins said. “Now we’ve got to move beyond the discussion and beyond holding the pain and move forward to action.”

    The American-Statesman talked with Hawkins about the challenges facing Austin’s black-owned businesses and what can be done to create more opportunities for Austin’s black workforce. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity."

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