By Ryan Velez
Donald Trump has officially taken the office of the presidency, and the events that have led up to this have caused plenty of reasons for minorities to be stunned, concerned and angry. Incendiary rhetoric and appointments of figures to key positions that have a negative history with the Black community have many minorities, Black included, feeling that they are on track to be targeted. Shawn Baldwin, Chairman of the AIA Group (AIA), has recently penned an article for Black Enterprise saying that Black America needs to ” think beyond their emotions and consider in a calculated fashion what opportunities lie ahead.” Pondering the ramifications of a Trump presidency may not be easy, but he is not the first figure urging people to accept what has happened and try to find positives.
One benefit for Black people that Baldwin suggests is Trump’s appeal to entrepreneurs and stated dedication to job creation. This makes a lot of sense, in that traditionally, small business growth tends to lead to more jobs overall than larger companies, who have large numbers of jobs but don’t always create new ones. Trump has said that he wants to be one of the country’s greatest job creators, something that is traditionally held near and dear to the Republican ethos. With a Republican-led Senate and Congress, Trump’s presidency could present one of the most favorable times in recent memory to open a business.
Trump’s name was made as a real estate developer, and Baldwin feels that this could transfer into a focus on infrastructure, something he has already mentioned trying to do. “A main focus of the Trump Administration will be to upgrade infrastructure, that will be driven at the Federal level, but it will flow down to the State and Municipal levels—this will create lots of opportunities,” he explains. Minority-owned businesses should be certain to register under minority business lists for both cities and states. Should Trump follow through on his promises, this could be a potential windfall for those companies.
One interesting part of the Trump Administration is the appointment of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has been much maligned for his views and alignment with Trump, but Baldwin thinks that there is potential in this choice. “Dr. Carson had tremendous success as a surgeon and achieved global recognition. Expect him to bring the same focus and commitment to excellence in urban development as he attempts to make his mark outside of medicine.” Another thing to consider is that Trump’s affinity for real estate and support for entrepreneurship may be a combination that can create opportunities for skilled tradesman. Also, the choice of Odebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian-born, all Street trained attorney, as an advisor for the Trump Administration serves as an example of potential opportunities for people of color. Baldwin argues that the same may apply for both us and our communities, with proper planning.