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Black Business Leaders Call for Boycott of San Francisco Tourism

Black business leaders in San Francisco are calling for a boycott of the city’s hotel and tourism industry, claiming that the city’s discriminatory practices have barred black businesses and employees from benefitting from its most lucrative business.

This week, the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce issued a call for a boycott starting in the new year. On January 1, the chamber will ask all black associations not to bring their gatherings to the city. On February 1, it will request all educational organizations to join the boycott, and on March 1 it will ask all legal and medical organizations to follow suit.

The boycott stems from the SFAACC’s claims that the city’s travel industry does not advocate for its black constituents and maintains discriminatory hiring practices.

“SFAACC asserts that African American neighborhoods are seldom promoted by the San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA) and African American businesses are often refused contract opportunities,” it stated in a press release. “In fact, a recent video by SFTA to promote San Francisco to the world and draw tourism to the City did not include any African American or Latino images or destinations. The issue is exacerbated by the lack of African Americans employed in the industry, despite the efforts … to push hotels for greater diversity in hiring.”

The SFAACC is demanding the city conduct hearings on alleged discriminatory hiring practices, direct tourism spending to black businesses and neighborhoods and redirect 5 percent of the Tourism Improvement District fund to the recruitment, training and placement of blacks in the hospitality industry.

“It’s apparent that the African-American community in San Francisco has no advocates in the public sector regarding this issue,” SFFACC president Fred Jordan told the Examiner. “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 number one industry, tourism.”

According to the SFTA, last year was San Francisco’s greatest year for visitor spending with nearly $9 billion spent at local businesses by 16.5 million tourists.

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