NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - “We care to know and we care to be given the opportunity to be at the table."

It’s why Yuri Cunza, President and CEO of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce strives each and every day to make sure hispanic businesses stay afloat during this pandemic. 

“Starting with the challenges and access to capital...The lack of sufficient credit...It’s not having bad credit, it’s not having credit! I came to this country when I was 21 years old. The system is not in any way improved since the time that I came,” Cunza said. 

Ashford Hughes, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant with BluePrint Solutions Group LLC says he hears from many Black owned business owners battling similar issues. 

“There’s a sense of urgency within these businesses because they haven’t been able to access profit because we’ve been in a shelter in place across the country," Hughes said.  

Cunza, Hughes and many other minority leaders are calling on the state and city to ensure federal relief dollars through the CARES Act are distributed to minority businesses, helping them get through the crisis. 

“Many of our ethnic minority owned businesses did not have and do not have the certain banking relationships with some of the larger banks to be able to get-or garner the money--or tax dollars that many of our other small businesses have,” Hughes said. 

Cuzna says he knows Mayor Cooper and many city leaders are working hard to ensure we bounce back; he just wants to make sure Black and Brown voices aren’t left in the dark. 

“It’s a community in need..not in need of your compassion or pity, it’s in need of appreciation, it’s in need of respect..it’s in need of cultural appreciation in many ways. And we’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” Cunza said. 

News 4 reached out to Mayor Cooper’s office about these concerns. In a statement, they replied:

“It’s certainly on the Mayor’s radar. And we welcome the community’s continued input on how federal COVID-19 relief funds can be used to ensure we have a great city on the other side of this historic challenge.”

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