Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce calls for state ad campaigns to include more Black-owned media companies

“The state spends several billion dollars on media — advertising and marketing — when you take a look at the spend(ing) on Black media, it’s less than 1%,” Larry Ivory, who heads up the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, said at a news conference.

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Larry Ivory, President & CEO, Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, calls on state leaders to include more black owned media companies in Illinois’ tax-payer financed ad campaigns.

Larry Ivory, President & CEO, Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, calls on state leaders to include more black owned media companies in Illinois’ taxpayer financed ad campaigns.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce Wednesday said there’s a lack of state spending on Black-owned mediaoutlets, public relations firms and advertisingfirms, particularly in Illinois’ effort to convey health information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 campaigns focused on the black community are going to white firms, Larry Ivory, who heads up the chamber, said at a news conference.

Ivory called on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to ensure spending follows state law that establishes an “aspirational goal” of awarding 20% of contracts to businesses owned by people of color, women, and individuals living with disabilities.

“The state spends several billion dollars on media — advertising and marketing — when you take a look at the spend(ing) on Black media, it’s less than 1%,” Ivory said.

Ivory announced the ISBCC is launching the Coalition for Black Media Equity to bring attention to the disparity and demand fair and equitable awarding of state contracts to Black-owned businesses.

Ivory is seeking information on state spending and the state’s strategy to meet its minority spending goals, but couldn’t immediately provide figures.

A spokeswoman for the governorand the state agency that manages contracts didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

“We have been grossly overlooked for way too long,” Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader, said of Black media.

Last month, Pritzker announced a $5 million multimedia campaign to promote people to wear masks in Illinois.

“You didn’t read it in our newspapers. You didn’t hear it on our radio stations. You didn’t see it on our digital products. But he spent millions, millions, on a mask campaign. Shouldn’t we wear a mask, too? We had to get our information from word of mouth so to speak. He did not spend a dime with any of us,” Leavell said.

“We have a heavy load, if we do not let our people know what’s going on in our communities, we will not know what’s going on.”

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