Equity | November 28, 2022
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Equity | August 29, 2023
One Solution to Racial Inequity: Buying Black
This is a guest blog from Mynesha Spencer, Inclusion Strategist at All of Us Together Co. This blog is estimated to take 4 minutes to read.
According to the United States special emphasis calendar, and specifically the Department of Small and Local Business Development (Washington, D.C.), Black Business Month is observed and recognized during the month of August every year. This has been the case since 2004 when two Black entrepreneurs teamed up to start the annual celebration with the intention of driving policy agenda affecting Black businesses and empowering Black business owners.
Since then, August 31st of each year has marked the last day of the designated special emphasis month. However, it is critical we all understand that we can—and, in order to shrink the racial wealth gap, we must—cultivate the habit of supporting special emphasis all year long as opposed to 28, 30, or 31 days. The monthly special emphasis, though, allows individuals whom are early on their economic equity journey to foster both a year-long and life-long habit of patronizing Black-owned businesses.
After the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, we began to see social activism asserted and racial justice demanded by citizens across the nation. Years later, in 2020 after the nationally televised police-initiated murder of George Floyd, for the first time in our nation’s history, we saw the largest dual social justice and racial justice demand initiated by way of corporations across the globe. Business executives and CEOs everywhere were cognizant of the plight associated with being Black in America. Many blacked out their Instagram profile photos, attended mass marches and rallies, and began using the online hash-tag, #BlackLivesMatter.
Unfortunately, many have discontinued their temporary commitment. This blog is not written as an appeal for the population of people who temporarily joined the movement of racial equity and social justice, but for those who were and remain-invested in the cause. I make one simple appeal: nothing says Black Lives Matter like investing your green dollar into a Black-owned business.
In order to achieve a more racially just and equitable society, we must begin practicing economic inclusivity. At All of Us Together Co., we define economic inclusion as both the process or practice by which a corporation, organization, or consumer deeply involves underrepresented businesses in the national, regional, and/or local economy by recognizing the value and power underrepresented business owners have. In addition, the practice of economic inclusion requires individuals to actively purchase from and contract with those underrepresented businesses for quality goods and professional services.
Economic inclusion is a practice—it is something one must do and there is no room for spectators. Try practicing economic inclusion by employing any one or combination of the below recommendations:
- Take time to build strong relationships with Black-business owners and leaders.
- Implement a strategic diverse supplier procurement program and require all departments within your workplace to yield to it. Hire a supplier diversity expert for expert and technical instruction.
- Acknowledge the disparities in supplier procurement that exist within your organization and commit to doing better by holding the organization accountable.
- Write, share, or post reviews of Black-owned business experiences.
- Support business colleges, particularly at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through donations, volunteerism, and stewardship of Black entrepreneurship.
- Provide opportunities for accessibility to professional, political, and other influential networks.
- Refer a friend, colleague, or business partner to utilize the goods and/or services provided by Black-business owners who have satisfied your needs or exceeded your expectations.
- Endorse a Black business and/or business owner on LinkedIn by way of a formal endorsement.
- Offer Black CEOs and Black Executive Directors networks of support by sharing contacts for social capital.
- Research Black businesses that offer services or goods you want or need to purchase before spending elsewhere.
- Purchase or create a supplier diversity log from All of Us Together Co.
- Join a Black Chamber to support the sustainability of Black-owned businesses.
- Join a Board of a nonprofit led by Black professionals to offer technical expertise to a Black-owned organization.
- Expose and advocate for the reduction of loan bias and bias in other capital access methods.
- Host an educational forum or series on the importance of Black business prosperity. Hire an expert to speak specifically about the history of Black business exclusion from the free market enterprise.
- Create or contribute to the creation of new and more Black business owners by standing up entrepreneurship incubators, providing mentorship programs, comprehensive support labs, and/or capital opportunity initiatives.
Of course, our team of equity experts are happy to lend support to anyone requiring help with employing any of these best-practice methods.
Are you a Black-business owner? Log your business here!