Black Meetings and Tourism

January / February 2020

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I N T H E N E W S B M & T ••• January/February 2020 ••• 6 2020 ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE GREATER CINCINNATI & NORTHERN KENTUCKY AFRICAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, the largest African American chamber in Ohio, held its annual meeting recently, to highlight the many successes of 2019. The event was held at Cincinnati's COPA Lounge on Sycamore Street. "As we celebrate the successes, growth and expanding influence of the African American Chamber of Commerce, there is tremendous reason for optimism and excitement in 2020," said Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the African American Chamber. "Working on behalf of our members is a privilege and responsibility we cherish as we enter a new decade, together." "The African American Chamber is working purposefully to create long-lasting and thoughtful partnerships that are beneficial to all. We will re-energize our efforts to elevate the power and influence of our members, our African American businesses and our community of consumers. Additionally, we will position this Chamber as the thought leader for all African American business endeavors," added Jason Dunn, Board Chair of the African American Chamber. 2019 African American Chamber Achievements: • The African American Chamber helped infuse over a half-million dollars in capital, more than double the 2019 Chamber goal, into the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American business community. • The African American Chamber successfully advocated for the inclusion of race when filing for an LLC or corpora- tion in Ohio. This is significant because it will allow Ohio to track, for the first time ever, the number of African American businesses created. • The African American Chamber was chosen by the Ohio Development Services Agency as one of just seven partners to operate Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC) to help minority and disadvantaged businesses get off the ground, grow and sustain success. • The African American Chamber introduced a new podcast and radio show, "Rise to Shine" on Soul 101.5 FM &1230 AM radio. The platforms, hosted by Chamber president Eric Kearney, allow member businesses to spread the word about their missions - and to address critical issues affecting minority business and the African American community. • The African American Chamber moved its headquarters to 2303 Gilbert Avenue, bringing the Chamber closer to its member businesses. The new headquarters are strategically located closer to the Central Business District and within miles of Cincinnati's innovation district, high-tech busi- nesses, and the region's entrepreneurial hub. • The African American Chamber worked to become a complete 360-degree chamber, offering programming, advocacy, services, and network- ing. This positions the Chamber for growth as it serves members and the community like never before. • Nearly 4,000 individuals attended programs hosted by the African American Chamber. The Chamber offers over 120 program activities throughout the year to meet the many needs of small, emerging, and large businesses. Learn more about the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce at www.african- WATSON COLEMAN LEADS LETTER DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM AIRBNB ON MISLEADING HOSTS AND LISTINGS Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), along with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) recently demanded Airbnb explain its plans to deal with deceptive limited liability corporations disguising themselves as "hosts" on the platform to market short-term rentals out of compliance with local laws and the company's own policies. The letter, addressed to CEO Brian Chesky, also requests information about misleading listings that have left customers in poor housing conditions and seeks a meeting with Airbnb executives. "Despite Airbnb's stated 'One Host, One Home' policy, media reports have raised concerns about the proliferation of limited liability corporations on your platform…deceptive and misleading listings have also led to customers being scammed by 'hosts' who abuse Airbnb's cancellation policies to trick guests into unsuitable housing conditions for monetary gain. While we appreciate that you have frequently stated that Airbnb has a "zero tol- erance" policy, it also seems clear that you have failed to authenticate host identities in a way that would prevent bad actors from continuing to rent through your platform under false identities after being banned," the Congress members wrote. The letter includes 20 questions intended to clarify Airbnb's policies and practices, including: • How the company intends to define a "host," and how the company vets its hosts; • How the company will enforce policy violations from hosts who mislead customers and the public about their identities or listings; •How the company will verify that units meet so-called "basic safety protocols;" • And whether the company's efforts to categorize "high-risk reservations," will consider age, race, gender, or other personal traits. Eric Kearney

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