Tired of being “shut out” from The City's top moneymaking industry, black business leaders are calling for a boycott of The City's powerful hotel and tourism industry.
While tech has been getting many of the headlines lately, it's tourism that drives the San Francisco economy. More than 16.5 million tourists spent nearly $9 billion in San Francisco in 2012, according to the San Francisco Travel Association.
But only an “infinitesimal” amount of that goes to black-owned businesses and black workers, according to leaders with the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, who claim that city officials have neither addressed nor corrected their allegedly racially biased hiring practices.
“It's apparent that the African-American community in San Francisco has no advocates in the public sector regarding this issue,” said Fred Jordan, president of the SFAACC. “No one seems to want to confront one of the most blatant and visible forms of discrimination affecting African-Americans in San Francisco — being shut out of San Francisco's No. 1 industry, tourism.”
The chamber will ask “African-American associations and organizations” to steer clear of The City's Moscone Center and other prominent meeting places beginning Jan. 1 — and the chamber promised to stage “peaceful demonstrations” outside of conferences and conventions that do come to town.
Black residents of San Francisco have long struggled for the riches enjoyed by others in The City.
The unemployment rate for young black men is close to 45 percent, according to the chamber.
The City is also in the third decade of a steady black exodus: only about 4 percent of San Francisco residents are black, down from 13.4 percent in the 1970s.