Harlem Business Alliance Update: Black Business Empowerment: Say it loud! We are Black and we’re proud!
The Village of Harlem has been the cultural epicenter of Black America for the last 100+ years. More recently, Black Harlem has been confronting the adverse effects of gentrification and economic stagnation of the majority of its Black-owned businesses. This harsh economic reality led to the formation of the Black Business Empowerment Committee (BBE). Our advocacy is taking root and spreading nationally. As the BBE movement builds, we are asking Black people to be very clear: Minority ≠ Black, Small Business ≠ Black and Diversity ≠ Black. Say it loud – I am Black and I’m proud!
Below is one of several news articles published nationally this week as part of BBE’s public awareness campaign. Please read it and share it with your friends.
As a person who’s been on the front lines of protests advocating for Black folks for media job hiring, slavery reparations and more Black history teaching in public schools, just to name a few. I’ve witnessed for decades how my work was being translated by news reports as “working on behalf of minorities!” Nothing could have been further from the truth. But unfortunately, it’s how White leadership has seen Black protesters and the sad commentary is, it’s been primarily a narrative pushed by Black leadership in their need, it appears, to be loved by everybody in the world.
However, the people primarily hurt by this compromise has been the voiceless masses.
It seems that finally there appears to be some powerful help on the horizon in the name of a group of activists known as the Black Business Empowerment (BBE). This movement is made up of a crossbreed of business owners, community organizations, religious leaders and grassroots groups that decided to come together to show unity and to pool their strengths to advocate for Black people.
The groups all agree that the consistent use of labeling their causes under the word “minority” has many times weakened their abilities to assist Black people…
The Black Community will not be left in the COVID-19 boat of despair while others receive the lion’s share of no-bid contracts and financial relief. A database of Black-owned businesses is crucial to BBE’s advocacy. We must collectively step out of the shadows into the light! A big part of our stepping into the light together is the creation of a BBE database.
Who are we?
Harlem’s Black Business Empowerment Committee (BBE) is a collective of Black community organizations, churches and business owners that have come together to put forth a plan for Black Business Empowerment. The goal is to make Black economic health and Black business empowerment a priority for all elected officials. Primary organizers:
The 400 Foundation
The 400 Foundation, a moral movement for economic equality, was birthed in February 2019 as a historical acknowledgement of the 400th year since the end of Chattel Slavery in North America and a biblical response to the Exodus liberation story after 400 years of oppression. www.the400foundation.org
Harlem Business Alliance
Since its founding in 1980 the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA) has been a force of advocacy for the development and empowerment of Harlem’s small business community. HBA offers free one-on-one counseling services to aspiring entrepreneurs maneuvering through the start-up phase as well as to established small business owners. www.hbany.org
WEG is an alliance of Harlem based Black entrepreneurs formed in 2018 in an effort to level the playing field for Black business owners in NYC. WEG seeks to buck the trend by advocating for Black-owned businesses and identifying contract opportunities and Black entrepreneurs prepared to accept the opportunity. www.WEGNYC.org