Last summer, as protests took place in Denver and in cities across the U.S., we at SideCar voiced our support for Black communities and the Black Lives Matter movement, along with many other individuals and businesses. After the hectic, eventful months that have passed since then, we realized how important it was not to lose sight of our goals when it comes to walking the diversity, equity and inclusion walk.
While we are still committed to reading books and articles, watching movies and listening to podcasts to help increase our understanding of systemic racism and how it continues to impact Black Americans today, it’s not enough to simply learn these lessons. Especially in these trying economic times, we should strive to support Black-owned businesses with our dollars, not just with words.
Buying from Black-owned businesses is beneficial and meaningful in so many ways. It builds up entrepreneurs and communities that have long been disenfranchised by racist policies and, in some cases, have even had generational wealth stolen through violence. Supporting Black-owned businesses, especially buying local, also serves to strengthen the local economy – something that is sorely needed right now.
When we buy from Black-owned businesses, we can also help close the racial wealth gap. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, Black families’ median wealth is less than 15% that of white families, at $24,100 and $142,500, respectively.
Of course, no one person’s buying habits can fix the entrenched mechanisms that led to the racial disparity in earnings and wealth in the U.S., but a few people spending money with Black business owners could mean the difference between surviving the pandemic and going under. Our buying choices matter.
In metro Denver, the Denver Black Pages keeps a directory of Black-owned businesses. Other resources include the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and MyBlackColorado.com. In Austin, Greenbook ATX serves as a guide to help connect the Austin community to Black-owned businesses. Additional organizations to check out include Six Square and Young Black Austin.
At SideCar, we know there is a long way to go toward fixing systemic racism in our country and that we’re still learning and growing, but we believe that if everyone conscientiously makes these small decisions every day, it can add up to real, meaningful change. If you have an additional resource to share or idea we should consider, please let us know.