Bronx City Council Member Ritchie Torres is advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ business owners.
“A wise person once said that if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably going to be on the menu,” he said. “The LGBTQ+ community has a seat at the table.”
Torres is the first out gay person elected to represent the 15th council district in Central Bronx. Since he was elected in 2013, he has been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in business, health care, and legislation.
“I think, members of my generation, the millennial generation, the Generation Z, have a strong ethic of social justice,” he said. “We’re demanding greater social responsibility from businesses and part of what it means to be a social responsible business is to ensure that there is LGBTQ representation and in your supply chain.”
Torres introduced a bill that would certify LGBTQ+ businesses, allowing business owners to compete for government contracts. Similar certification programs already exist for women and minority-owned businesses. The bill is expected to pass in the fall of 2019.
“We all need equal economic opportunity,” he said. “A certification program would facilitate the hiring of LGBT businesses. It would create economic opportunity, create wealth and forge relationships with corporate America, forge relationship with government.”