The purpose of this article is simple: to direct attention to black-owned businesses.
Being an active ally to the black community takes work and daily acknowledgment. Events related to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement have spurred the realization for many people that simply saying “I don’t stand for racism, so I’m not a racist” is not enough to effect meaningful change. As a white person, I set a personal goal to educate myself about racial inequality and discrimination against black people in the U.S. in order to do better.
Supporting black-owned businesses is an extremely effective way to combat systemic racism and ensure the current and future uplifting of black communities. Below are some trustworthy petitions, apps, websites, and books that can guide you in discovering, aiding, and celebrating black-owned ventures.
As we all know, the economy took a hard hit due to COVID-19. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that beyond the initial challenges of a global pandemic, black entrepreneurs and business owners have to face additional disadvantages. According to the organization 15 Percent Pledge, “21% of black-owned businesses didn’t think they’d survive the pandemic. Just 5% of white-owned businesses said the same.” By signing their petition, you will “[call] on major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses.”This petition has the potential to save countless hard-working black-owned businesses across the nation and stimulate further growth for a more hopeful future.
If you are looking for a more local option but do not know where to start, the apps Black Nation, Official Black Wall Street, and EatOkra are great discovery platforms. Both Black Nation and Official Black Wall Street allow millions of users to search various categories of black-owned businesses in your area, read reviews, and get special offers. Next time you need to go shopping, use these apps to search for what you need instead of automatically turning to large department stores or mainstream brands! For the food-lovers, EatOkra offers a wide range of delicious black-owned restaurants based in your city. Make a bucket list of black-owned restaurants near you, or just grab a group of friends to try out a new place this week!
Additionally, with the very launch of Post21, co-founders and mother-daughter duo Juana Williams and Blair Paysinger describe their venture as “a comprehensive marketplace that focused on modern and design-forward products from black-owned businesses.” The items sold through their website are categorically sorted by groups such as essentials, indulgences, and legacy. Post21 goes beyond a passion for providing quality home and lifestyle products by fostering a greater sense of community.
Of course, authors are entrepreneurs too. An essential resource for supporting black authors and educating oneself about the critical issues the nation is coping with is MahoganyBooks. MahoganyBooks has a physical store location in D.C. as well as a thriving online platform that “specialize[s] in books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.” For further reading on antiracism, The Strategist of New York Magazine published “7 Anti-Racist Books Recommended by Educators and Activists.” Some books on this list can be bought through MahoganyBooks, such as award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi’s incredibly insightful How to Be an Antiracist.
Today and every day, black businesses, black voices, and Black Lives Matter.
If you liked this article, check out our podcast episodes: Sara Hunterand Katani Sumner – Build your Racial Sensitivity and Nourah Al Faisal – Entrepreneurship to Help Saudi