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A Statement from the Chamber Board of Directors and President/CEO

Dear Chamber community,

Like any organization that is over 100 years old, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has had a checkered history relating to racial equity and inclusion. The Chamber has not always been a place that welcomed or supported black business owners, and we acknowledge and regret that many black business owners still feel like the Chamber is not a place for them.

Recent Chamber leadership has been focused on trying to change that, and we fully recognize that burden is on us. Given the most recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, which have once again brought our nation’s undeniable racism, racial inequities and injustice into stark relief, we remain even more committed than ever to correcting past wrongs and leading our business community to a more united prosperity. We stand with all of you in denouncing racial violence, and we know that we can as a country do better.

We believe that actions speak louder than words. More than ever, it’s critical for the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce to stand for a fair, equitable and diverse business community, and to foster an environment that both sparks opportunity and celebrates accomplishment among all of us. We have a long way to go to reach that goal, but our team is committed to working in partnership with the Minority Business Alliance, our Chamber members, and our economic development partners to be a catalyst for a thriving regional economy that must include and support minority-owned businesses.

Our efforts will not be without occasional missteps. In that regard, we regret that the content of our Monday, June 8, e-newsletter did not speak directly to racial violence and injustice. We must be absolutely clear that we find these most recent acts, and those before them, unacceptable.

We support and advocate for quality jobs, economic mobility, and strong, healthy businesses so that our region and everyone in it can thrive. In that spirit, we share the resources below:

To learn more about and support Black-owned businesses, explore this Black-owned Business Directory compiled by Destinee Wright.

To learn more about and support Black-owned restaurants in Charlottesville, check out this link: The Charlottesville 29 blog post.

If you would like to support organizations working to create new avenues of economic stability and mobility and to promote small business, learn more about Chamber members New Hill Development Corporation and the Community Investment Collaborative .

We look forward to being in conversation and partnership with you as we move forward as a community to listen, learn, and, most importantly, act toward the unity and equity we all desire.

Elizabeth Cromwell
President & CEO

Cristine Nardi
Chair, Board of Directors

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce
209 5th St. NE, Charlottesville, VA