NEWS BRIEFS

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Business Development Portal
The Native American Contractors Association (NACA), the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Black Chamber Inc. are partnering to launch NACA?s Business Development Portal, a Web-based platform geared to searching, finding and winning new federal contracts for minority-owned businesses. The portal will offer growth opportunities, facilitate strategic alliances among Native-American, Hispanic-American and African-American businesses, and foster outreach within the small-business community.?It will also provide training webinars. According to NACA, the primary goal of the new portal is ?to provide strategic business services to minority-owned firms that result in the creation and retention of jobs for Americans through business growth. This is accomplished by increasing the domestic and global competitiveness of minority-owned firms in accessing contracts, capital and new markets.??

Black Women?s Gun Agenda?
The Black Women?s Agenda (BWA) Inc. added its support to the campaign for tougher gun control legislation with the launch of its ?For the Love of Families? initiative on Feb. 14, Valentine?s Day. In announcing the initiative, BWA cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicating that in 2010 guns took the lives of more than 31,000 Americans, the equivalent of more than three deaths an hour and 85 deaths a day. The organization backs a ban on the sale and production of assault weapons and gun magazines with more than 10 rounds, and supports President Obama?s proposal calling for background checks designed to prevent criminals and people suffering from mental illness from purchasing guns. It urges its participating sororities,?civic and faith-based groups to call or email the National Rifle Association to say there is still time to step up and play a constructive role in promoting gun safety, and to contact their elected officials to advocate for the passage of gun control legislation.?

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Rosa Parks Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the Best of America with several limited-edition stamps in 2013, including a Detroit postmaster Lloyd Wesley Jr. at the unveiling of the Rosa Parks 100th birthday commemorative postage stamp.Civil Rights Series that recognizes the courage of the late Rosa Parks, freedom embodied in the Emancipation Proclamation and equality marked by the March on Washington. On Feb. 4, what would have been Parks? 100th birthday, USPS unveiled a Forever stamp honoring the civil rights icon as part of the National Day of Courage ceremonies at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. The stamp was produced by art director Derry Noyes and stamp artist Thomas Blackshear II. Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted longer than a year, and inspired others to similar acts to challenge racial segregation.

Diversity Bond
Toyota Financial Services launched its first Diversity & Inclusion Bond, developed in collaboration with Lebenthal Capital Markets and Citi. Toyota said the bond will become a component of its comprehensive funding program, and will allow the company to capture a more diverse investor base, increasing the depth and resiliency of its U.S. registered bond program.?It said the new type of?bond syndication also enables diversity firms to strengthen their relationships with clients, and gives their investors more access to TFS bonds and the opportunity to participate in higher-profile deals. Diverse and minority-owned firms, including Loop Capital Markets, Mischler Financial Group Inc., Samuel A. Ramirez & Co. Inc., and The Williams Capital Group L.P., assumed lead underwriting roles on the syndication. Law firms Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan L.L.P. and Davis Polk & Wardwell L.L.P. are acting as co-issuer?s counsel, with O?Melveny & Myers L.L.P. acting as underwriters? counsel.

Diversity Recruitment
Professional Diversity Network (Prodivnet.com), an online professional networking marketplace that connects top companies with diverse candidates for employment, relaunched its suite of websites serving professional ethnic minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community to enable job seekers to use the company?s job matching features on mobile devices. PDN also opened new offices in Chicago. Both moves are a response to the growing demand for workplace diversity. ?More and more companies understand that a diverse workforce is essential in an increasingly diverse global economy and are striving to fill their diversity pipelines in order to compete in the marketplace,? PDN CEO Jim Kirsh said. PDN maintains the following seven professional network websites: iHispano.com, serving Hispanic-American professionals; AMightyRiver.com, serving Black rofessionals; Military2Career.com, serving veterans; ProAble.net, serving people with disabilities; OutProNet.com, serving the LGBT community; AsianCareerNetwork.com, serving Asian-American professionals; and WomensCareerChannel.com, serving professional women.

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Second N.Y.C. McKissack Office???
McKissack & McKissack (Mckissack. com), the oldest minority-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States,?opened an office in New York City?s Harlem?community, the company?s second office in the city. The company said the new location solidifies its?involvement and commitment?to the Harlem community and furthers its ability to manage its Community Workforce Development Program. McKissack says that, like its location on Sixth Avenue, the Harlem office was designed with an?innovative new design technique, EcoChi, which blends classical feng shui, Green and sustainable living and environmental?psychology to revolutionize how people feel when they are indoors, including a?living wall feature.