New Chamber Offers a Strong, Fresh Start

The Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: Kristi Williams, treasurer and historical chairwoman; Charity Marcus, secretary; Sherry Laskey, board vice chairwoman; Greg Robinson, young professionals chairman; Sherry Gamble-Smith, president and CEO; Melvin Gilliam, board chairman; Vanessa Hall-Harper, membership chairwoman; and Chief Egunwale Amusan, advisory board member. Not pictured are the Rev. Dr. Rodney Goss, government relations chairman; Thomas Boxley, economic development chairman; and Cordell Dement, education chairman.

A falling-out at the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce in early 2017 left former Executive Director Sherry Gamble-Smith and former Membership Chairwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper frustrated and disappointed. They say others in the African-American community felt the same.

So in May, with the support of Hall-Harper, who is Tulsa city councilor for District 1, and local businesses, Gamble-Smith decided to create a second chamber. Organizers say the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce has a vision to educate, create and inspire economic vitality in the African-American community.

"We want a healthy community, a prosperous community and a self-sustainable community," explains Gamble-Smith, who is president and CEO. She plans to build on progress initially made at the Greenwood Chamber, such as membership growth, regular events, and business and financial education for African-American business owners.

Small business owner Charity Marcus is a former member of the Greenwood Chamber who serves as secretary of the BWS Chamber. She says starting the new chamber is "about positive changes and getting the services needed to the community."

Gamble-Smith stresses that the BWS Chamber is for all African Americans, regardless of where they live in Tulsa. She says, "I see this as a way to build bridges to all segments of the community."

The BWS Chamber of Commerce has two locations: 1314 N. Greenwood Ave. and 1800 S. Baltimore Ave., Suite 815.

The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce is still in operation. Call 918-585-2084 for information.



July 19 — July Luncheon of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce

Luncheons are held monthly on the third Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Downtown Doubletree Hotel,

616 W. Seventh St. To learn more or become a member, visit bwschamber.com or email info@bwschamber.com.

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