Darrick Lawson Named Rainbow Chamber’s 2015 Business Leader of the Year

Darrick Lawson, Rainbow Chamber Business Leader of the Year 2015Dr. Darrick Lawson, owner of Healing Touch Chiropractic, civic leader and LGBT activist, has been named Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Leader of the Year.

Lawson is a former board member and past president of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and founded the organization’s RainbowPAC. He was instrumental in helping to pass AB 1960 in 2012, which requires the state Department of General Services to collect and report voluntarily submitted information on LGBT-owned companies who contract with the state.

“I am proud to have built a successful business as an openly gay man, and to have worked with organizations such as the Chamber, the Stonewall Democrats and other institutions to create a diverse, inclusive economic environment in Sacramento where all people can be valued for their contributions rather than excluded for their differences,” Lawson said. “I am honored to receive the Business Leader of the Year recognition.”

“Darrick is an example to all of us of someone who has succeeded in business, in his family and personal relationships, and in his community,” said Chamber President Paul Weubbe. “Despite the demands of running a thriving practice Darrick gives generously of his time and leadership experience. He is an excellent choice for our 2015 Business Leader of the Year.”

The Business Leader of the Year is selected by a panel of Chamber and community leaders and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership success within his or her business and the business community as well as within the Sacramento LGBT community and who has and will continue to serve as a role model for the Greater Sacramento community.

Lawson received his doctorate from the Cleveland Chiropractic College in 1991, passed his state exam and joined a Central Valley practice, where he became a partner within one year. In 2000 he relocated to Sacramento, helped build a successful practice in Orangevale, and in 2003 opened his own Midtown Sacramento office, which has grown steadily every year since.

Lawson has served on the Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission for six years and is a former chair of the commission. He was appointed by then Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg to the Capitol Area Committee, which oversees development of state-owned property located near the Capitol. He has served on U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Lawson is a founding vice president and former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento and a co-chair of the LGBT Redistricting Committee, which helped establish Sacramento’s LGBT community as a “community of interest” for city and county redistricting purposes. He is a 2012 recipient of the Stonewall Democrats Founder’s Award.

Connect With Major Corporations Who Want To Do Business With You!

NGLCC Business & Leadership Conference, July 30-Aug 2, 2013, Dallas, TexasWant to connect with LGBT-owned businesses and their corporate allies from all over the United States? If the answer is yes, then the 10th Annual NGLCC National Business & Leadership Conference, July 30-August 2, 2013, at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, is for you!

Sacramento will be sending a contingent of RCC board members, Sacramento Convention & Visitors’ Bureau staff and local business leaders, and we want you to come, too!

More than 600 attendees are expected at this amazing networking conference. More than 130 NLGCC corporate partners will be there—companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wells Fargo, United Healthcare, Aetna, MillerCoors, IBM, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Motorola, Pepsico, Intel, Wyndham Worldwide, American Express, Ameriprise Financial and Ernst & Young, to name just a few. And here’s the best part: If you are a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise, all those corporate partners want to do business with you! If you want to market to the LGBT community or find LGBT business owners to partner with, you’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with hundreds of them.

“I have attended the NLGCC conference for the past two years,” said RCC Past President and owner of WriteAway Communications Services Bonnie Osborn. “The first year I attended for the opportunity to learn from other LGBT chamber leaders from all over the country—skills and resources I could bring back to RCC. But I was blown away by the opportunities to meet and talk with corporate diversity and purchasing officials from some of the biggest corporations in the world. Last year I got my company certified, and I went for the business connections. Best conference I ever attended.”


NGLCC Director of Affiliate Relations Sam McClure presents Assemblymember Roger Dickinson with Certificate of Appreciation for AB1960.
NGLCC Director of Affiliate Relations Sam McClure presents Assemblymember Roger Dickinson with Certificate of Appreciation for AB1960.

NLGCC Director of Affiliate Relations Sam McClure visited Sacramento in February to share a grant-funded internship program available to RCC member businesses and to honor Assemblymember Roger Dickinson for his sponsorship of AB 1960, which will for the first time in history count the self-reported LGBT-owned businesses who contract with the State of California. Wells Fargo sponsored the event honoring Assemblymember Dickinson at its Natomas Learning Center. Sam was quite taken with Sacramento and the warm welcome she received, and she’s hoping to see a huge Sacramento turnout in Dallas. Let us know if you’d like to attend, or if you would like information about becoming a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise—available at no cost for RCC members! (Click here for pictures from last year’s sold-out conference in Chicago!)

For more information on the Dallas conference, https://www.nglcc.org/events/2013-national-business-leadership-conference.


California Bill to Support Gay-Owned Businesses Advances

Bonnie Osborn


California Bill to Support Gay-Owned Businesses Advances

April 12, SACRAMENTO— A bill that would make California the first state in the nation to have a bill dedicated to the advancement of gay-owned businesses passed its first legislative hurdle.

On Tuesday, April 10, AB 1960, was passed out of the California State Assembly Committee on Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection on a 6-2 vote. AB 1960 is now referred to the California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and co-authored by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, would require that information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) owned business enterprises be included along with information about minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises as reported by the California Department of General Services. California law prohibits contracting preferences or quotas for minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises; however, data about those enterprises is collected for statistical and reporting purposes on a voluntary basis.

Committee hearing testimony in support of the bill was provided by Dr. Darrick Lawson, Rainbow PAC Chair; with Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Bonnie Osborn, and Benjamin Phillips-Leseñana, Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center Board Member and Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Board Member also appearing in support. The measure received 23 letters of support from organizations and companies, including American Airlines and Toyota Financial Services.

“Minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises, along with LGBT-owned businesses, make up a large share of the small businesses that are major economic drivers and job creators for our state,” Dickinson said. “Having access to accurate information about small business owners and their needs will help inform the state on how to best serve small businesses that are vital to our economy, as well as lay the groundwork for future growth.”

“The existence of successful LGBT businesses has often been unacknowledged or ignored due to prejudice, even as they brought vitality and prosperity to their communities,” Phillips-Leseñana said. “With this legislation, the state of California acknowledges that LGBT-owned businesses are valued equally with other small businesses as important contributors to the economic growth and social fabric of our state.”

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2-2-2-2-2 Bill to Advance LGBT-Owned Businesses Passes Out of Committee

“Simply having data about LGBT-owned businesses available will be of tremendous value to organizations serving LGBT businesses, to marketers, and to business-to-business companies interested in marketing to LGBT-owned businesses,” said Chamber Vice President Dr. Darrick Lawson. “For the first time in history we’ll be able to get a picture of the economic contributions of LGBT-owned businesses statewide.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is an affiliate of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), which is the exclusive certification body for LGBT business enterprises and the direct link between corporate purchasers and LGBT suppliers.

Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners and professionals and allies in the Greater Sacramento region. The Chamber works to build a prosperous and inclusive business community and to support issues that promote business development and equal rights for all people. The Chamber and its non-profit affiliate, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, have contributed more than $30,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.


Sacramento Rainbow PAC Endorses Hansen, Kerth for City Council

Bonnie Osborn


Sacramento Rainbow PAC Endorses Hansen, Kerth for City Council

Cooley, Johnson, Pannell Among Those Endorsed by Non-Partisan Business PAC

April 3, SACRAMENTO—A political action committee launched recently by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has endorsed candidates in two hotly contested Sacramento City Council races: Genentech executive and openly gay community activist Steve Hansen for Council District 4, and former City Council member and current SMUD Board of Director Rob Kerth for Council District 2. “I look forward to working very closely with [the] Rainbow Chamber as we expand business opportunities for everyone throughout Sacramento,” Kerth said.

“The Rainbow Chamber works tirelessly to foster a healthy economy in Sacramento, and I’m proud to have their support as we redouble our efforts to get Sacramento back in the black,” Hansen said. If elected, Hansen would be the first openly gay member of the Sacramento City Council.

Launched in February 2012, the Chamber’s Rainbow PAC supports candidates and issues that foster equality, inclusion and a prosperous business environment. Rainbow PAC Chair Dr. Darrick Lawson said the PAC fills a need for a non-partisan, business-positive PAC committed to LGBT equality and other issues of fairness and inclusion. “The Rainbow PAC will allow LGBT people of all political persuasions to have a voice in the political process,” Lawson said, “as well as support candidates and policies that promote business growth and job creation.”

At its first endorsement meeting, Rainbow PAC endorsed candidates in a number of other local-regional races, including incumbent Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who recently pledged his support of same-sex marriage by joining the national initiative “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.” Other endorsements include Dr. Richard Pan for State Assembly District 9, who recently introduced AB 1505 to help California LGBT veterans; Rancho Cordova City Councilmember Ken Cooley for State Assembly District 8; incumbent Assemblymember Roger Dickinson for State Assembly District 7, who introduced AB 1960 to help California LGBT small business be counted within state contracting reports; and Sacramento City Council incumbents Kevin McCarty for Council District 7 and Bonnie Pannell for Council District 8, who are not known to be aligned with Mayor Johnson on issues like city redistricting, the new downtown entertainment sports complex, and most recently the city’s sewer-water plan and infrastructure.

Other Rainbow PAC endorsements include Rep. Doris Matsui for Congressional District 6 and Jack Uppal for Congressional District 4; Sacramento County Board of Supervisor candidates Jeff Kravitz for District 3 and Gary N. Blenner for District 4.; business owner Greg Higley for Elk Grove Mayor; and Twin Rivers Unified School District Trustee candidates Walter Garcia Kawamoto, Ph.D., Cortez Quinn, and Annette Emery.

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Rainbow PAC Endorses Hansen, Kerth PAGE 2

Established in 2012, the RainbowPAC supports candidates for public office and ballot initiatives that will have an impact on the Sacramento area’s LGBT community and its many businesses and enhance the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce members’ awareness of political and social issues, visit www.rainbowpac.org.