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  • What are we going to do about it?

    The night before Thanksgiving, a beloved member of our business community, Mamadou Dembele, was assaulted while out in the City of Portsmouth.  Sadly, in a statement released last week by Mamadou “The words used by my attacker leave no doubt that this was a racist act."  On Sunday, Dec. 3, community, spiritual, and business leaders rallied around him. You can read that account here.

    A gathering Dec. 3 at the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial supported Mamadou Dembele. Show, from left, speaking: Rev. Robert Thompson, president of the Seacoast NAACP, Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Joanna Kelley and Dembele. 

    It is what happens next, that matters most. The Chamber is a business organization. We rally around and champion the Portsmouth business community. But, first and foremost, the Chamber Collaborative is an organization made up of human beings, and we champion and rally around humans.   “We wish Mamadou a speedy recovery—not only from his physical wounds—but for his emotional scars.  “We applaud Mamadou for his courage to stand up and to bring this heinous incident out from the darkness and into the light. “We support Mamadou and everyone else in the state that has been a victim of racism and loudly shout that hate is not welcome in Portsmouth and New Hampshire,” said Chamber Collaborative President & Chief Collaborator Ben VanCamp. The Chamber Collaborative's Diversity Statement as adopted by the Board of Directors in May of 2023 can be found here. More importantly, today, we reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the Portsmouth community.  We will continue to strengthen our bond with the Business Alliance for People of Color (BAPOC) and will work with BAPOC and others to provide support and training in the business community.   We say this, and we will go beyond words. Because racism is not just in bigger cities, or smaller towns. It’s here. Right here in Portsmouth, NH.  We will work together to be louder, prouder, and more than it. Let’s begin right now.

    Please reach out if you would like to join the Chamber Collaborative's DEI efforts.   Ben Ben VanCamp Chief Collaborator & President