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Home Current Events Black People Are Rebuilding Their Own Communities & Businesses After Riots

Black People Are Rebuilding Their Own Communities & Businesses After Riots

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Photo: Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun

Authorities suspect that white supremacists and far-left extremists were behind much of the violence seen around the country during recents protests. In all of this, Black communities and even Black businesses, were vandalized and looted. Black people, however, are not waiting for anyone else to clean up their community or rebuild it. Black organizations, entrepreneurs and individuals are stepping up to clean, rebuild and go forward, stronger than ever.

Rioting in Oakland damaged several high profile businesses, including Target and Mercedes-Benz. More damaging, however, was the impact to Black businesses. Oakstop offers affordable workspace, event space, and arts programming in Oakland, supporting a variety of Black owned businesses. They began raising funds immediately to help impacted businesses and have raised over $50,000, thus far. In Chicago, Black People Eats, a Black restaurant directory, has raised close to $30,000 to help Black owned restaurants that were impacted. We Buy Black recently asked its followers to tag Black owned businesses that had been impacted by rioting and hundreds answered that call. Many businesses tagged in the post report that individuals have reached out to them, offering assistance.

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If riots are the voice of the unheard, the destruction of Black owned businesses during said riots is simply noise. Over the weekend, reports around the country began surfacing that Black owned businesses were being destroyed during disturbances. Some reported that whites were infiltrating protests and targeting Black owned businesses. Others saw these incidents simply as frustrated rioters who were simply indiscriminate in their destruction. Either way, Black businesses who are already struggling to get by, have a road to travel that is much longer. As a community, this cannot stand: our businesses must be regarded as sacred. . . Across the country, Black business owners experienced turmoil. Black restaurants, shoe stores and other shops had their windows broken, were looted and vandalized. While the ultimate origins of the destruction aren’t necessarily clear, it is evident that too many young people aren’t in touch with the value of Black businesses and their sacredness. . . Black owned businesses are the primary employers of Black people and the economic engine of the community. When protestors are arrested, it’s Black entrepreneurs that bail them out. When a family is struggling to pay for funeral expenses, Black entrepreneurs very often step up to meet the need. Scholarship programs, sponsoring youth sports teams, providing that first job and catering that community event, all of it is the work of Black entrepreneurs. To destroy Black businesses is to destroy our future, our promise and our hope. To destroy Black businesses is to destroy ourselves. Black businesses are sacred: HANDS OFF‼️

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Black people don’t need anyone else to build up their communities or validate their strength. After Black Wall Street was attacked on May 31, 1921, city officials made efforts to price Black people out of their community. Rather than concede and leave, Black people fought back. By the end of 1921, Greenwood residents had rebuilt more than 800 buildings in the community and by 1922, the area’s homes had been rebuilt. Black Wall Street was officially back in 1925, when the National Negro Business League held its annual conference in Tulsa. The residents of Greenwood didn’t wait for a white savior, they simply went to work and that is what Black people are doing today.

It is essential that Black people rebuild their communities, or else. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, land values in Black communities that had already been suppressed were that much lower; with many residents away from the city, it became even easier to gentrify their communities. Ravaged communities can be bought up rock bottom by investors and gentrification is inevitable. It’s time to rebuild and Black people must do the work, themselves.

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D'Juan Hopewell
I care about Black Power. Period. Currently working on creating jobs and funding new startups on the South Side of Chicago and writing here and there at HopewellThought.com. Follow me @HopewellThought.
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