Friday, July 10, 2009

Black Trade Group Plans Shutdown of Interstate 70 Prior to All-Star Game

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 7:01 AM

The African-American Business and Contractors Association says it will shutdown a part of Interstate 70 this coming Monday, a day before St. Louis plays host to the All-Star Game.

The group made its announcement at a press conference yesterday. (Video below.)

Hilary Ogunrinde, a member of AABCA, told media that the shutdown will protest the lack of road construction jobs awarded to black contractors. The shutdown comes ten years and one day after a similar protest closed Interstate 70 in north St. Louis. That shutdown (July 12, 1999) led to 125 arrests and the conviction of the Rev. Al Sharpton of violating two city ordinances -- walking on a highway and refusing to obey police. 

Ogunrinde said this year's shutdown will be a "peaceful act of observance" and her group does not anticpate any arrests.

AABCA accuses the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation of routinely hiring minority firms headed by white female business owners at the exclustion of those owned by blacks. (Illinois and Missouri minority-hiring quotas consider both female-owned and minority-owned businesses as "disadvantaged business enterprises.")

In Missouri -- according to AABCA -- the department of transportation awards 88 percent of DBE contracts to white female business owners compared to just 12 percent for other minority companies. In Illinois, white female business owners win 73 percent of DBE contracts compared to 27 for other minority firms.

Ogunrinde calls the statistics a "slap in the face to the minority community."

The group has not stated exactly where or when it will attempt to shutdown the highway on Monday.

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