Have you ever thought about how you will be remembered once you’re gone? What about the legacy you will leave behind? Taking the time to learn about the greatness of those who have come before us can serve as the inspirational tool needed to continue our own journey towards whatever dreams or aspirations we may have.
When we talk about the importance of establishing black businesses and using economics to positively affect our social conditions, not too many people in our community, championed these ideas more than Aubry L. Stone.
Known for being the Founder and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce, he would also dedicate a considerable part of his career to creating and promoting economic opportunities for the black community. Stone was born in Panama City, Fla., he moved to Birmingham, Ala as a child before his family finally settled in Brooklyn, NY.
In 1978, after getting out of the air force, stone moved to Sacramento with his wife and two children. He worked for a small time at a private company before shifting to business advocacy. During his illustrious career, he would serve on several boards including; The California Small Business Advisory Board, The Caltrans Small Business Board, The NAACP, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, The Mayor’s Economic Development Council, and the list goes on.
He also owned and operated local radio station KDEE 97.5 FM, which is one of the few black-owned stations in the area. Mr. Stone passed away on November 28th after he lost his battle with small cell lung cancer. He was 74 years old. I must admit, when I first heard the news of his passing… I had no idea who he was. My initial reaction after doing my own research on his life and accomplishments was to be a little disappointed in myself. How could a man of this magnitude operate in my backyard and I know nothing about him?
At that point, the answer hit me. Growing up, no one in my family owned a business. Most of the people in my neighborhood either struggled financially or conducted business on the other side of the law. Either way, ownership and economic empowerment weren’t high on their list of priorities. This is what makes Mr. Stone’s legacy so important. Every individual in our community has a responsibility to make the environments we live in a better place. He made it his life’s mission to improve our conditions. So, at some point, we all must ask ourselves…. what am I doing to make a difference?