Opinion: California Must Ensure the Participation of Black Businesses in Upcoming Global Events

Opinion: California Must Ensure the Participation of Black Businesses in Upcoming Global Events

OPINION (CBM) – The upcoming 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympic Games present Los Angeles with remarkable opportunities.

PHOTO Black Business Association President and CEO Sarah Harris WRITTEN BY SARAH HARRIS | SPECIAL TO CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA PARTNERS OPINION (CBM) – The upcoming 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympic Games present Los Angeles with remarkable opportunities. These world sports events are not only a celebration of athletic excellence, but also a unique opportunity to stimulate economic growth, cultivate cultural pride, and advance social equity. To fully capitalize on the economic boom these opportunities could bring to our state and communities, it is imperative that we ensure the inclusion of Black businesses in every facet of the preparations and operations. Reflecting on history, we must acknowledge the significant legacy of former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. His tireless efforts, in collaboration with Peter Ueberroth, the chairman of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and businessman, Dr. William (Bill) Burke, were instrumental in bringing the 1984 Summer Olympics to our state. Bradley’s determination and vision transformed Los Angeles, and its surrounding areas, into an international hub of economic dynamism. The 1984 Olympics demonstrated the power of inclusive leadership and strategic planning. Bradley’s commitment to inclusivity and economic empowerment remains a guiding light for us today. His success in the 1984 Games was not just a personal triumph but a victory for the community. The economic uplift and international recognition that Los Angeles received were a direct result of his unwavering dedication and strategic alliances with key leaders. Bradley, Ueberroth, and their team embodied what was called the “Dream Business Team,” a model of collaboration and innovative thinking that we must aspire to replicate. As we approach the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics, we must build on Bradley’s legacy. The inclusion of Black businesses in these global events is not just a matter of equity; it is an economic imperative. Studies consistently show that diverse and inclusive business practices drive innovation and economic growth. By actively including Black businesses, we ensure that the economic benefits of these events are broadly shared, fostering a more robust and resilient local economy. ADVERTISEMENT Currently, we are witnessing a promising continuation of this legacy with Mayor Karen Bass leading the way.  Recently, she led an LA delegation to Paris, the host city for the 2024 Summer Olympic games. Bass was accompanied by Council President Paul Krekorian, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, LA84 Foundation President and CEO Renata Simril and others, to engage with international stakeholders and learn best practices for major event planning. Upon returning, she convened a Business Roundtable with leaders of local business chambers and associations to discuss small business growth and economic development as top priorities. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to engage with Business France and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CEO Jean-Marie Tritant to witness first-hand the collaborative nature of businesses and consumer engagement during major events,” Bass said at a press conference during the Paris trip. “We are working urgently to ensure that Los Angeles will grow economically during the 2028 games and that our small businesses will grow and thrive past the 2028 games.” The Black Business Association (BBA), the oldest ethnic business support organization in California, has long championed the cause of economic empowerment for Black businesses. Under the visionary leadership of Earl “Skip” Cooper, II, the BBA has made significant strides in supporting Black entrepreneurs and advocating for their inclusion in major economic opportunities. Now, as the President and CEO, I am committed to continuing this vital work and ensuring that Black businesses are front and center in the preparations for these upcoming events. Tom Bradley’s legacy teaches us that with determination, strategic vision, and collaborative effort, we can achieve remarkable success. As we prepare for the world to turn its eyes once again to Los Angeles, let us ensure that our Black businesses are not just spectators but active participants and beneficiaries of the economic opportunities these events will bring. Together, we can create a legacy of inclusion, equity, and economic empowerment that will endure long after the final whistle of the World Cup and the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Let’s honor the spirit of Tom Bradley by working diligently to ensure that the 2026 and 2028 games are a testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion. I invite you to follow the Black Business Association’s efforts and initiatives at  bbala.org  or on social media @blackbusinessassociation. About the Author Sarah R. Harris is President and CEO, Black Business Association and the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission, 2nd District Commissioner.

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