Observing Juneteenth & Supporting Black Owned Businesses
At Printfresh, we as a team have spent a lot of time this year listening and learning about systemic issues of racial discrimination. We’ve listened to talks and read books on the topic. We’ve also spent time examining our role in addressing the wealth gap that continues to exist between Black and white Americans. In our country, there is a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and even state-sponsored discrimination like redlining and gerrymandering.
What is the Tulsa Massacre?
Earlier in June, we observed the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. The events that took place in Tulsa destroyed the wealth of many Black Americans. To read the full story of the events that transpired in Tulsa, the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum has put together a comprehensive resource.
This year, President Biden traveled to Tulsa to commemorate the anniversary. He was the first president in the history of our country to do so. His remarks focused on the tragedy that took place in Tulsa and the lasting damage done to the generational wealth of Black Americans. During his speech, he vowed to increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends to small, disadvantaged businesses, including Black and brown small businesses.
What is Juneteenth and How is it Observed?
Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the end of the Civil War and the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in certain parts of the country.
Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s but in recent years, it has become more widely recognized. By 2019, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognized Juneteenth but only Texas had adopted the holiday as a paid holiday for state employees. This year marks the first year that Juneteenth will be observed as a federal holiday. While this is a day of celebration, Juneteenth did not mark the end of discrimination and policies that help Black families from achieving wealth over time.
Resources for Black Entrepreneurs
While the Tulsa massacre surely stands out as a horrific example, it is not unique in the history of how generational wealth and entrepreneurship has been systematically denied to Black people in America. As a small business, this Juneteenth, we'd like to focus on ways we can all support Black entrepreneurs. While there have been some increases in the number of Black-owned businesses in recent years, there is still much progress to be made.
The following resources are available to current and aspiring Black business owners.
The Enterprise Center
Located in Philadelphia, The Enterprise Center’s suite of business acceleration services provides entrepreneurs with access to certification, networking, contract procurement assistance, one-on-one business support. They currently house two federally-funded business centers: the Mid Atlantic Small Business Transportation Resource Center and the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center of Pennsylvania.
Venture Cafe holds a weekly gathering that is free and open to all members of the innovation community. They invite individuals who have ideas, talent, resources, and/or passion to contribute and want to participate in a full slate of high-impact programming, informal conversation, and overall awesome experiences! With locations in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Rotterdam, Miami, St. Louis, Sydney, Tokyo, and Warsaw aspiring or established entrepreneurs can participate in conversations wherever they are. Since COVID-19 closures took programming virtual, it is easier than ever to join the conversation.
Comcast RISE is a multi-year commitment to provide marketing, creative, media, and technology services to small businesses owned by people of color. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2021, but after that point, additional grants will be awarded quarterly.
Minority Business Development Agency
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. They help connect entrepreneurs with capital, contracts, and markets.
Black Fashion World Foundation
Black Fashion World Foundation is a game-changing 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to provide black fashion professionals sufficient access to higher education, capital, mentorship, the advice of business experts, advertising opportunities, and distributors.
RAISEfashion was founded in July 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. As people across the world stand in solidarity to confront the systemic oppression and contemporary reality of racial injustice, this organization feels compelled to reflect more closely on the opportunity and responsibility of the workers in the fashion world to cultivate a more diverse industry. One that actively promotes and fosters Black-owned businesses and Black individuals.
Black Artists +Designers Guild
The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) was founded in 2018 by Malene Barnett, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY, to combat the lack of representation of Black talent and culture in the design industry. BADG strives towards creating an inclusive art and design environment, through equity and inclusivity, by providing visibility and opportunities for members.
Do you own a business or have additional resources to share? Let us know in the comments - we’d love to connect. As a consumer, what are your favorite Black-owned brands? Share those so we can support them too.