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.
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.