I was dumb enough to quit a lifetime-guaranteed job with the government to start my own business. I was dumb enough to think, as an African American woman, I could compete with huge corporations for government contracts. Turns out I was smart enough after all. Smart enough to get contracts and smart enough to find people who knew what I did not know.
I am back with you fighting for our jobs at a time when I should have been preparing to choose many of you to work with me to build the new Bayview Library. The contract to build our library in our neighborhood was taken from my company, Liberty Builders, and awarded instead to a white contractor, K C K Builders, whose bid included no Blacks at all. This time we won’t let the gate swing shut again for another dozen years. We’re all fighting back – and we’re winning, especially with the passage of Supervisor John Avalos’ Mandatory Local Hire ordinance.
Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff’s construction company, Liberty Builders, has advanced to the second stage of competition for the contract to build the new Bayview Library. The next hurdle is bonding, a barrier that usually locks Blacks out. Ratcliff has a long proven record of hiring from the community. Bay Area Black Builders will join the mass JOBS RALLY Saturday, May 8, 12 noon, New Federal Bldg, 7th & Mission, SF, to demand jobs for all.
When America talks about unemployment percentages around 10 percent, I know they are talking about white people. It is talked about as an alarming figure. As a Black man, I am not alarmed. If that were the number in my community, I would rejoice. “No Blacks working! That’s what I see at every construction jobsite in San Francisco,” exclaims Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and lifelong construction worker and contractor.