February 21, 2024

Summer 2020 was full of conversations surrounding social issues. One of these social issues in the spotlight is the racial injustice that is prevalent within the United States. 

In order to combat racial injustice, people across the country have been protesting in the streets, signing online petitions and donating to organizations dedicated to ending racism. Another major way to combat racial inequality is by supporting Black-owned businesses.

There are different reasons why supporting Black-owned businesses has been a frequent topic of discussion including the lack of representation for people of color in the world of business and the desire to contribute to a sense of community that is fostered when supporting these businesses.

Kubrat Salaam, owner of Kubitees, a clothing and product brand based in the Inland Empire that Salaam describes as “a place that people that people can go to if they are looking for something that has the quality and is also relatable,” discussed the importance of buying from Black-owned businesses.

“There are many layers to it,” Salaam said. “When you are supporting a Black-owned business, you aren’t just supporting that business but you’re also contributing to the different communities that the business caters to.”

Shiloh Thibodeaux, co-owner of the vegan establishment Cafe Organix with her husband, Terrance Thibodeaux, explained what that sense of community looks like for both the consumer and the business owner and how vital it is.

“It is important for the community as a whole to support businesses that wouldn’t normally get the support,” Thibodeaux said. “It is important that we as a business lift people who don’t normally get lifted by the government and different establishments like lending institutions.”

Buying from businesses owned by people of color can also occur when shopping at larger corporations. Allison Weaver, junior english major, said it is not difficult to find businesses to support.

“If you don’t know where to start, all it takes is a simple Google search,” Weaver said. “When you are out shopping at Target and you notice that a certain brand of a product you need happens to be Black-owned, then it is good to be intentional about that and spend your money with that business since your money will have a lasting impact.”

It is equally important to recognize that not everyone is going to have the same intention when shopping from Black-owned brands.

Cali Steffens, junior environmental science major, expressed her experience of what it means to be a true ally to these brands.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has become popularized, which is an incredible opportunity to bring awareness to racial inequality and other systematic injustices. However, this presents the issue of it simply becoming the next trend in some people’s eyes,” Steffens said. “Instead of just posting on your social media in order to appear ‘woke’ it is essential to follow through past showing your support on Instagram. 

It is crucial that we continue to educate ourselves as well as be a genuine ally. An example of an easy way to do this is through shopping Black-owned businesses.”

Another important concept to remember is that everyone learns at their own pace. It is okay to not know everything about racial inequality and how that relates to supporting Black-owned businesses. 

However, it is important is to constantly be open to learning new things and stepping out of their comfort zone. Doing this will help further the fight to end systemic racism.

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