ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A small organization with a big goal is finding new ways to tackle inequity in the workplace.

What You Need To Know

  • BIG is a nonprofit helps businesses and governments reach diversity goals

  • BIG works to recruit new members to continue the work of social justice icons

The Orlando chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG), is partnering with established organizations in the community to raise its profile.

The nonprofit helps businesses and governments reach diversity goals, as BIG itself works to recruit new members to continue the work of social justice icons.

“I want to ensure that the fight that John Lewis, Martin Luther King, all those civil rights leaders, their work is not in vain,” said Charles Tubbs, the group’s newly-elected president. “I’m blessed, fortunate to have success in my career. Why not pay it forward and work with folks who can make a difference?”

Several years ago, the local chapter saw membership dwindle to the teens, a result of a cache of retirements and other factors, Tubbs said.

But, in 2021, the chapter’s membership grew so greatly, it was recognized for the boost. It’s now 35 members strong, with Tubbs hoping to expand membership to roughly 100 people by 2022.

At its core, BIG is focused on equal opportunities and preparing people for advancement, explained Tubbs.

Since he took on the volunteer role in January amid the pandemic, Tubbs said he’s faced challenges; He spends several hours each day apart from his federal government job, working remotely, working to make connections and grow BIG.

“It’s difficult, obviously we have to consider we’re in the midst of the pandemic. You can’t physically reach out and touch people like you would. That disconnect is there,” he said. “I’m spending a lot of time sending emails, making phone calls, doing Zoom calls. Just trying to keep the team engaged.”

But, as he looks ahead to a day of service in March, hoping to partner with more seasoned groups like the Buffalo Soldiers, Tubbs is optimistic that BIG can play a critical role in the Central Florida community: not as a watchdog for equity, per se, but a partner with organizations to reach diversity objectives.

“Let’s partner with organizations that are mature and work with them, so we can avoid some lessons they’ve had to learn,” he said. “I’m hopeful the legacy I leave, when I reflect on my sons, that they grow up knowing they have a responsibility, but the world can be a better place. It takes action.”