On October 8-9, 2020 the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) hosted a virtual national conference that focused on how the Local Economy Movement can support independent and local businesses by moving toward racially equitable and resilient local economies.
Leaders from across the nation (29 states) gathered for a ground-breaking opportunity to learn from one another, share best practices, and identify solutions that expanded the Local Economy Movement by addressing the most pressing issues our communities face today. But this wasn’t business as usual. AMIBA has committed to make equity the center of our work. This commitment led us to assemble powerful voices from the black community with the local leaders of the Buy Local Movement to explore ways to collaborate, amplify and embrace black and brown businesses. This conference represents the first time the Local Movement has committed to an inclusive and equitable focus.
Building a Movement Toward Racial Equitable Economy and Culture
AMIBA organized the conference by placing a major emphasis on the massive and long overdue growth of the movement for a racial reckoning in our nation. The need to address racial inequity in our economy and culture was exposed bare during 2020 and many of the speakers addressed the need to support the Black and Brown entrepreneurs and their businesses by building an economy that is equitable and fair.
According to Executive Director Derek Peebles, “In the summer of 2020, the AMIBA Board of Directors engaged in several profound conversations that led us to rethink how we need to place Racial Equity at the center of our mission and our work. This virtual conference pushed our movement to come together, expand our vision, share best practices, and collaborate to make a positive difference in the local economy. This dynamic and diverse conference embraced spirited dialogue and offered essential information that inspired participants to move us forward toward fair and equitable economies that will benefit all Indie Local businesses–we are all in this together.”
Successful business owners come from all backgrounds, and they offer an extraordinarily diverse range of approaches and solutions to community needs. Communities in all regions of our nation are grappling with the multiple cultural, health, and economic challenges facing our nation. The AMIBA Conference highlighted the growing awareness of racial inequities and focused on the need for local economy leaders to take actions that support Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
The AMIBA 2020 Conference offered our movement a wide variety of presentations and discussions that directly addressed the need for a racially equitable and sustainable economy and put forward several replicable solutions and programs that communities could adopt and adapt.
The speakers laid out clearly the challenges before us and shared their stories of how they have made an impact in their work. Together, each one of these local leaders played an essential role in creating a tapestry of ideas, programs, and visions for how the Local Economy Movement, AMIBA, and independent business alliances can change our world for the better by working for racially equitable and sustainable local economies.
Janus Adams, Host & Journalist, The Janus Adams Show
Thomas Barr, Executive Director of Local First Arizona
Peter Block, Author and Activist
Ed Dugger, President, Reinventure Capital
Katie Frank, Managing Partner, ZingTrain
Segun Idowu, Executive Director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts
MaryAnne Howland, Founder & CEO of Global Diversity Leadership Exchange.
Frederick Miller, CEO. Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group
Colin Murray, Executive Director, Dane Buy Local.
Derek Peebles, Executive Director, AMIBA
Karen Spiller, Founder, KAS Consulting
Nicola Williams, President, the Williams Agency
These inspiring speakers led the conference to new heights in committing to equity and clearly placed equity at the center of our work at AMIBA.