Skip to main content

Black History Month 2024

“Knowing the Past Opens Doors for the Future”  

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will celebrate Black History Month throughout February 2024. DCEO through its Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) will spotlight long-standing Black businesses across the state, highlight Black business accomplishments and their contributions to our state, showcase our commitment to growing and investing in Black businesses, and celebrate the leadership of our Black employees.     

Black History Month Events 

Online with OMEE – Overview of Financial Resources for Small Businesses
Wednesday | February 7, 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM | Register

Is access to financial capital important for your business? The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) Business Development Managers invite you to an online conversation that's open to all minorities ((racial/ethnic), women, persons with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQIA+) and any other marginalized groups-owned businesses. Team OMEE will provide you with the latest updates on financial resources like federal and state programs, information about other opportunities, and answer any questions you may have about your business. We'll take questions in English and Spanish.

Knowing the Past Opens Doors for the Future: Black History Month Panel Discussion (virtual) 
Wednesday | February 14, 2024 |10:00a – 11:30a | Register

In partnership with Chicago Urban League Center for Entrepreneurship, we will convene business leaders doing impactful work in communities across the state. We will discuss the history of their organization, the deep roots of Black business and Black leadership in their community, lessons they have learned and insights they would like to share for the future. 

Opening Remarks:

  • Rebecca Estrada – Deputy Director, IL Office of Minority Economic Empowerment
  • Kelly Evans - Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development  Chicago Urban League 


  • Matt Simpson - African American Business Development Manager, IL DCEO 


  • Duntai Mathews – Cofounder, Think Big (Rockford, IL)
  • Crystal Young – President, Impact Global (Quincy, IL)
  • Malcolm Crawford – Director, Austin African American Business Networking Association (Chicago, IL)
  • Don Patton – President, Cairo Historical Preservation Project (Cairo, IL)

Business and DCEO Employee Spotlights

Throughout the month, DCEO will be highlighting Black Illinois business owners across the state and celebrating the leadership and commitment of our Black employees.

Twitter: @IllinoisDCEO
Facebook: @illinoisdceo
LinkedIn: Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
Hashtags: #blackhistory  #blackhistorymonth #BHM2024

Black History Month Toolkit

Below, you will find a document that includes helpful links, graphics, and samples of text you can use in your newsletter, social media or website to help raise awareness and encourage those in your network to celebrate Black History Month.

Black History Month Social Media

The State’s Black History Month activities are presented by the DCEO, Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE). OMEE plays a crucial role in providing support to minority-owned businesses of all sizes and types, including connection with grants, technical assistance, and incentives to bolster minority entrepreneurs and minority-owned enterprises. For more information on Black History Month events planned for businesses, contact Matthew J. Simpson, the African American Business Development Manager, at, or to learn more about ongoing resources and programs for businesses, follow DCEO on social media @IllinoisDCEO.

Black History Month Proclamation