West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity

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Tue, July 21, 2020

Chairwoman’s Article July 2020

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Our world continues to be dominated and impacted by COVID-19. We have visual reminders everywhere we look; masks; hand sanitizer stations, distancing signage and more. This is our new reality and until we can slow down the spread, it is our new normal. Accepting this new normal, along with following the guidelines developed by our public health officials, will get us on the path to a recovery; physically; mentally and economically. 

Our Chamber is doing its part to demonstrate its commitment to be part of the solution. Our events, networking groups and committees have been virtual and will continue that way until our community has better control of the virus. Even though we had planned an in-person Hob Nob for the end of July, we had to pivot, and recreate the event as a Virtual event since we remain in Phase 2; events of 50 or less people.  

This new virtual Hob Nob & Straw Poll will allow participants to experience a virtual candidate parade, debates featuring Florida House of Representatives District 44 and States Attorney District 9 candidates, opportunity to vote in the virtual straw poll with a live announcement of the results.  By going virtual, we may miss out on some good barbecue and beer, but the most important part, learning about the candidates is front and center. 

That is what our Chamber is about, being at the front of and in the center of important issues. Last week, the Chamber held its first livestream discussion on the inequality of opportunity, "Spark Peace" in our own community hosted by Simon Bailey, a local entrepreneur, author and fellow WOCC member. This event is just the start of a dialogue that needs to happen until we have achieved true equality and racism no longer exists. I encourage you to view the event by clickhere here.  

I look forward to working on this issue and others with next year's Chairwoman, Camille Evans. Even though COVID-19 has made planning difficult, it is not impossible; the plans just need to be fluid. If you have interest in helping us to develop a plan for 2021 and want to be considered for a position on the 2021 Board of Directors, click here and submit a Board Expression of Interest form by August 14.

One day soon, I look forward to listening to an evening news broadcast and waiting for the news anchor to say, “today there were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the United States.”  Until then, please stay safe, take care of yourself and your family and please wear your mask, wash your hands and remember to support each other by doing business with fellow Chamber Members. 


Deborah Rios-Barnes

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