By: Ayanna Pasha
Tacoma is protesting loudly and proudly from Fircrest to Parkland, with many locals joining cookouts and vigils in Puyallup, Seattle and Olympia. There is no doubt we are using our voices and time to demand social change for Black lives.
Another form of protest gaining momentum is economic protesting. Fancy words for putting your money where your mouth is.
Sometimes it takes a lil’ change, to make change.
Supporting black-owned businesses is a small, but very tangible piece of the ongoing fight for racial and ethnic equality.
Let’s dive deeper.
Why Buy Black?
What does supporting Black businesses have to do with Black lives?
Studies have shown that Black businesses are the greatest private employer of Black people. If we increased revenue for Black businesses by just two percent, we could create a million jobs within the Black community.
For a community with high unemployment rates, this is a needed solution. It seems easy enough, but there are many challenges Black people face when starting a business.
One- there is a huge financial disadvantage. Research has proven that financing options for Black people are significantly lower than White people. When Black entrepreneurs receive a loan they are at lower amounts with higher interest rates than other groups.
Black women business owners in particular are least likely to receive investments despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. according to a 2019 report by American Express.
Two – systems like criminal justice privatization and segregation through blockbusting continue to prevent Black communities from achieving financial security.
But, it wasn’t always like this.
At one time Black businesses were so prosperous the communities became known as the “Black Wall Street.” Streets were packed with versatile businesses including Black-owned banks, doctors, lawyers, theatres, libraries, restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, hotels and much more.
However, in 1921, a combination of Tulsa Race Riots and desegregation would lead to the complete destruction of Black Wall Street leaving thousands homeless, dead, injured and incarcerated.
The massacre happened in the backdrop of a nationwide epidemic of lynchings, tax sales, predatory land speculation, and disenfranchisement.
“We’ve got to strengthen our black institutions…” – Dr. Martin Luther King
In an effort to rebuild and “redistribute the pain” Jim Crow inflicted, Black people and allies were encouraged to invest in Black-owned businesses.
It became a political stance almost as critical as voting.
Buying Black isn’t just showing your support, it’s seeing Black people as equals and experts in their own right. It’s supporting Black ideas, creativity, and leaders.
It is a movement in and of itself.
Here are 6 ways we can show Black-owned businesses some love:
- Buy their products or purchase gift cards and give to family/friends
- Sponsor Black entrepreneurs
- Spread the love – share on social media
- Build or contribute to local Black business directories
- Buy locally
- Diversify vendor lists to include Black-owned businesses
Stay strong Tacoma! This is a movement, not a moment.
Ayanna is a Copywriter for M Agency specializing in creating impactful content and crafting meaningful messages. She leads with words of wit in a City of Grit. Ayanna grew up in Washington state, but is an Island girl at heart, an avid learner, yoga instructor, and mom!