This year, let alone the past few months in the U.S. has been a challenging and dispiriting one for all of us while we are currently dealing with the uncertainty of a health and economic crisis, hardship and loss that it has caused, topped with the nationwide racial tensions & discrimination, biases and systemic inequality – hitting communities of color hardest. This has been compounded by visceral reminders of prejudice and inequality that still perseveres especially for our Black communities.
With the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and countless others, I have seen communities stand up in the looks of pain and misery as we protest across the nation. Many in our NYC workforce development/human services community are grieving, as are many others that we serve. This has been an extremely hard time for everyone to digest including myself, to just ignore the racism and injustice happening in the U.S. right now. The Black community has always been resilient despite their experienced violence/tragedies, in disparity as they still continue to push forward. I can feel the pain echo from NYC, from the East Coast to the West Coast of how this is affecting the black community, my black friends, former classmates, current and former colleagues, professors & teachers and this does not sit well with me. I stand with you all, in solidarity during this trying time. Our lives do not matter until Black lives matter.
All I can say is that I hope these horrific tragedies will help bring us together and encourage us to spend more time by having these difficult discussions about racism online and offline. While we take the time to learn and educate ourselves, to realize and change is much more important and needed in this world. There is so much anxiety and negativity in the world today and it’s hard not to get caught up in it, but we should also be reminded of the beauty and love that is humanity – that we should all come stronger together as ONE HUMAN RACE. We have to do more and be allies for each other. This world needs more peace, unity, love and harmony.
I understand and respect those who need to take a break and focus on their mental health as the persistence of the news media resurfaces, causing a public backlash against racism. The recent headlines and media are a lot to cope with and it is only right that they need their time to do so. On top of the global pandemic and the economic recession that afflicts our world, as an Asian American with privilege, I will never truly understand the oppression that our black brothers and sisters faces as they continuously concern themselves with the prolonged thought of not making it home safe due to the injudiciousness of vigilantes. However, I hear you and I will always stand with you.
For those who do not fully understand the situation, it’s okay. But please, this is the time where we all need to take a moment to self educate, intently listen, speak up and to bring awareness of these kinds of issues, into our own families and communities. Read up articles, videos and research on what systemic racism is. Eventbrite is graciously offering virtual events and workshops on Online Racial Equity, Inclusion and Allyship for their workforce communities, businesses and basically everyone.
Black-Owned Businesses That We Should Support
Due to COVID-19, many challenges have affected the food service industry, which includes restaurants and bars that not only focuses on delivery, however also those that are established locally and owned independently. According to the National Restaurant Association, “the restaurant industry, more than any other industry in the nation, has suffered the most significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began.” In addition, Bloomberg‘s article reports that “the U.S. restaurant industry is set to lose 7.4 million jobs, according to a report from consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.” on March 17th.
I have listed below, as many valuable resources for us all to make the effort to contribute and support Black-owned businesses:
Marie Claire‘s published article – 51 Black-Owned Brands to Support Today and Everyday
Support Black Owned – Displays tons of black-owned businesses not only nationwide but globally across all different industries and sectors.
Black-Owned Brooklyn – Many black-owned businesses throughout Brooklyn, New York.
Los Angeles Times – Here’s a list of more than 85 black-owned food businesses in L.A.
Chicago Tribune – Back to Black: 24 Black-owned restaurants on Chicago’s North Side
Minneapolis, Minnesota (via City Pages) – Black-owned restaurants in the Twin Cities to support right now (and always)
Louisville (via Yelp) – Spotlight: Black-Owned Restaurants In Louisville
Refinery29 – Find & Support Black-Owned Businesses With These Apps & Websites
Baltimore, Maryland – Black-Owned Food Businesses to Support in the Baltimore Area
Elle Magazine – 52 Black-Owned and Designed Fashion Brands To Support Forever, From Fenty to Cushnie
House Beautiful – Black-Owned Home Stores To Support Right Now
Columbus Navigator – 70+ Black-Owned Businesses To Support In Columbus
The Strategist / NY MAG – 77 Black-Owned Businesses to Support Right Now
Well and Good – 50+ Black-owned wellness businesses to support now and always
In addition, if you are a huge fan of Sephora, usually members can accumulate points for every purchase they make. Now is the perfect time to redeem your points. I have recently discovered that every 500 points will result in a $10 donation to the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). This is a way of empowering and contributing to the Black LGBTQ/SGL individuals, including those living with HIV/Aids.
Although these are all I have for now, there are definitely more black-owned businesses that are awaiting our support and donations, so please do not forget to check your social media platforms as well.. your peers may be sharing posts and stories of black-owned businesses that their friends or your friends may be running!
Donate where you can, share a post where you can and listen to all the voices that have been muted for so long.
When you learn, teach. When you get, give.Maya Angelou
As a country, as a nation and as one human race, let’s do better in supporting our diverse communities and foster a culture that deeply values and respects diversity and inclusion in all aspects.