Virginia Beach to discuss disparity resolutions in public forum

Hundreds participated in a "disparity march" in February 2017, supporting real estate developer and former NFL player Bruce Smith’s request for a disparity study in Virginia Beach.(Southside Daily file photo)
Hundreds participated in a “disparity march” in February 2017, supporting real estate developer and former NFL player Bruce Smith’s request for a disparity study in Virginia Beach.(Southside Daily file photo)

VIRGINIA BEACH – The city is hosting a Fighting for Disparity forum to discuss policies aimed at rectifying the recent “substantial disparity” rating.

The event will be on Wednesday — from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sandler Center, 101 Market St.

Related Story: There’s ‘substantial disparity’ in city contracts to minority and women-owned businesses, study shows

It’s free and open to the public and will feature a panel to answer audience questions.

The forum follows the BBC Research and Consulting firm’s report which analyzed the gap between the number of city contract dollars SWaM businesses should receive, and the contracts they actually received.

“The goal is to create easier paths to opportunities by building relationships and partnerships,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer.

Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten will host, and review the study’s findings.

“This is an enormously important issue, not just for the city but for our community and I want to provide our residents with as much information as possible about what the study found and what steps we are taking to fight the disparity,” Wooten said.

Public outcry garnered a city-sponsored independent study of $1.2 billion in city contracts from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.

One of the private firm’s principles, Sammer Bawa, presented the findings of the 500-page report to City Council last October with the intention to identify racial disparities in the city’s business contracts and provide recommendations for alleviating any of those disparities.

To see the full study click here.

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