Aubry Stone, President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce and a stalwart in the small business community, passed away last week. Stone, who helped create the organization over 20 years ago, was an occasional contributor to this website and, more importantly, a strong advocate for African American entrepreneurs and all small business.

In his last column published here a month ago he urged African American entrepreneurs to take advantage of the deregulation coming from the current administration in Washington so as to “advance their economic mission,” as he put it. “Many of us are very concerned about the current administration’s moral values, social policy or personal misgivings, however the costs of permits, regulations and high taxes is the same if you are Black, Asian, Latino, Russian, American Caucasian or from Pakistan,” Stone wrote.

Betty Jo Toccoli, president of the California Small Business Association, who worked closely with Stone in that organization wrote, “Small Business and the world will miss Aubry Stone!  His dedication and good humor in making positive things happen for small business will leave a void but we will all be thankful for the accomplishments and partnering he gave us.”

Stone was a presence in the state capital, where he helped procure contracts and funding resources for Black-owned businesses. He worked to remove insurance redlining that hindered small business.

Stone lived up to a phrase he often used, “Fifty percent of winning is showing up.” He showed up on numerous boards, many dealing with the interests of the minority business community. California Governors, the California Legislative Black Caucus and the entire California Legislature honored Aubry Stone.