Honorable Laird Says It May Take Years For the Private Sector to Reinvest in Baltimore Neighborhoods


taneishaAccording to reports revealed by CNN Money, from unemployment, to housing, to education, to health care there are major gaps between the white and Black communities.  While many agree that sometimes one can no longer speak softly if they intend to be heard, the riots and looting that took place in Baltimore may have hurt the Black community more than uplifted it.

In a statement released yesterday, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Leader for the Ewing-Trenton NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area, Tanesha Laird says, “As a leader in urban business development, I understand where the need for catharsis is coming from in Baltimore but here is another harsh reality: it might take many years before the private sector is willing to re-invest in this neighborhood. Again, I understand the motivation for the riots but what I also see is the destruction of businesses and jobs being snatched away in an instant. And so it is heartbreaking and also a reason that the sustainability of these investment efforts have to be so very closely tied to other areas of city management and that city policies and cop culture doesn’t stand in isolation but is part of an ecosystem. To say that riots shouldn’t happen and that there shouldn’t be an interrelationship -as has been suggested by a “police expert” pundit is just ignorant to reality.”

In other words, for these broken communities, big businesses are going to think twice about locating there, and small businesses who might dare venture there, may have issues with support and financial backing. Because we have heard so many stories and looked at the reports, we had to ask how these events  could change the scope of things when many of these neighborhoods were already experiencing stagnant growth. 

Laird is the owner and principal of Legacy Business Advisors, a development consultancy that serves clients across the United States. She is also co-owner of several businesses including the $21 million, 20,000 square foot entertainment center My Image Studios (also known as MIST Harlem) in New York City and Legendary Eats Sandwich House, the new arena concessions concept co-founded by NBA legend James Worthy, which launched in Staples Center in Los Angeles in April 2014. With over a decade of experience in community economic development including a position as a municipal housing and economic development director, Laird was nominated by the then New Jersey Governor as a public member of the NJ Urban Enterprise Zone Authority in 2007. She was state senate approved and continues as a board member to this day making her the “Honorable Taneshia Nash Laird”.

Laird went on to explain that regardless of how many existing business were currently there, they were there. They obviously saw something in the community to have stationed themselves in that area and they provided an immediate need to its residents. These businesses also, more than likely, had employees and families to take care of.

As of now, it is not guaranteed that insurance will cover the damages they have endured, so what does Laird suggest? “They should go to those people they voted into office. They should go to city hall, and these city officials need to hunker down and assist them,” Laird advises.



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