Protecting Americans’ Voting Rights is Critical to Supporting Small Business Owners of Color

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Statement from Awesta Sarkash, Government Affairs Director of Small Business Majority, on the U.S. Senate’s failure to open debate on crucial voting rights legislation and its impact on small business owners of color

"Today’s decision by the U.S. Senate blocking debate on the For the People Act (S. 2093) is both disappointing and disheartening. As an organization dedicated to empowering the diverse voices of American entrepreneurs, we recognize the importance of having all voices participate in the electoral process to effect equitable change. 

Many small businesses were struggling to stay afloat before COVID-19, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the disadvantages of hard-working business owners and their employees, particularly those in communities of color. We see daily the struggles these communities face while also dealing with barriers to recovery rooted in economic disparity, systemic racism and equitable access to voting. 

It’s also important to note that politicians talk about how small businesses are the backbone of the economy, yet small business owners, particularly people of color and women, often feel disadvantaged within the political system. Our previous research found an overwhelming majority of small business employees feel that big businesses and the very wealthy have an unfair influence in the political process and have called for improvements to our democracy to level the playing field.

Entrepreneurs agree: our democracy is strongest when all citizens have fair and equal access to voting. Passing fair and transparent voting rights legislation is a critical step to supporting and elevating all voices. To create an equitable and inclusive economy, we must work to ensure that small businesses have an opportunity to impact the political process. This work starts at the ballot box."

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 80,000 small businesses and 1,000 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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