As much as we hope our lives matter in the United States and in the world at large, they truly do not. Black lives do not and will not matter unless we intentionally make them matter. Our lives will continue to not matter until we validate our existence for ourselves. Our White “allies” won’t do it for us. Let’s be real, if our lives truly mattered, this would not be a topic up for discussion. Centuries of wrongdoings against an entire race of human beings would already have been made right.
Protesting in the streets is not enough to make real changes to a corrupt system that continues to dehumanize Black and Brown bodies. This is not to diminish the continued efforts of BLM protesters and supporters—their efforts have brought awareness, but now we need real action. To show that Black lives matter to us, we need to protest with our purchasing power and our viewership of programs like the NFL , in order to gain leverage to make some real demands from our government, organizations and entities we support. We need to do a better job of utilizing some of the concepts below to ensure a better future for the Black community. Please take action. Your livelihood and the future of our community depends on it.
This is my love letter and my aspirations for the Black community all in one.
Black Lives Matter when we start to:
We need to heal and protect our hearts, minds, and families on so many levels. Many people within and out of our community do not understand the deep rooted trauma and effects within the Black community due to the intentional practices of white slave owners and the continued attacks by White racists. Occurrences, such as, the 1968 assination of Martin Luther King Jr., 1921 Tulsa race massacre, 1917 race riot in East St. Louis, 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina race massacre, and the countless hidden and undocumented attacks to the community have left a traumatic imprint within the way we as Black people operate.
It’s time we stop carrying these burdens alone. Black people, we need to find ways to intentionally heal with meditation/prayer, therapy, journaling and/or exercise. Whenever you hear or see negative information, find positive information to digest. A form of healing can also be educating yourself on our true history, not the “stories,” we were taught in grade school that conveniently omit our contributions to philosophy, mathematics, economics, science, etc.
Our history did not start with the enslavement of our people. Gaining knowledge and pride of who you are and where you came from can be transformative in how you see yourself and raise your children. A great starting point is digesting and researching the facts and opinions presented in the docu-series, Hidden Colors.
Start a business.
Turning your side hustle into a business can be the smartest move you make for your finances. The tax benefits, such as write-offs, allow you to legally keep more of your income in your pockets once you are incorporated as a corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company). Incorporation is not difficult. Do your research and seek advice from a certified public accountant or finance professional.
Support Black-owned businesses.
It is essential for Black people to properly utilize our purchasing power and spend responsibly. Buying Black creates opportunities for us and our kids’ futures. It also helps streamline money back into Black hands. Black businesses generate more earning potential for people of color, construct solutions to our needs, and set up a safe place for us. There is an amazing TedTalk by Maggie Anderson, where she presents staggering facts and figures on the importance of buying Black. To find out more about the various benefits of supporting Black entrepreneurs, follow my journey in finding and sharing the stories of Black-Owned Businesses through my podcast, Chats with BOB.
Hire Black workers.
Black business owners and consumers equally need to be intentional about hiring Black working professionals. Whenever there is a low amount of jobs available, our community gets hit the hardest in the area of unemployment, compared to our White, Asian, and Jewish counterparts as stated in publications by The CommonWealth Fund & Marketplace.org.
Open an account at a Black bank.
It is more imperative than ever to use Black-owned banks to assist in expediting the “economic revitalization of distressed communities.” Some current options in Detroit are First Independence Bank and Liberty Bank. Another Black-owned bank that is not in Detroit but makes it easy with their online banking services is One United, with physical locations in California, Florida, and Massachusetts.
Attend/host community events.
Events that are dedicated to educating and promoting action towards financial literacy, wealth building, mental and physical wellness, etc., are crucial opportunities to engage and empower our neighborhoods.
Create a community garden.
Community gardens increase access to fresh foods, improve mental health, and promote relaxation to those involved in maintaining and caring for the garden. They provide great opportunity to teach our children about nutritional food and give elders within the community something productive to do. Cleveland has a for-profit community garden that we should be following. Check out what they are doing!
Start Black schools (for us and by us).
The Success of African American Students in Independent Schools is a research that examines the positive effects of African American students in independent schools. I wholeheartedly believe Black-owned primary schools could offer the healing, true education, and attention our children deserve.
Improve financial literacy.
Powernomics, Dr. Claude Anderson “discusses the link between group economics and politics. Politicians have the power to write economic zones into policy, giving the protection of law to Black operations and economic zones. Put politicians and councilmen on notice: either take care of Black dollars, or we will take away your dollars. It worked in Ferguson, it can work anywhere.”
Instead of purchasing liabilities (takes money from your pockets), build wealth through the purchase of assets (puts money into your pockets).
Create trust funds for your children.
A well-planned and managed trust fund is one of the best vehicles to protect and transfer wealth. It can offer a great head start into adulthood. Through trusts, assets are better protected from creditors, lawsuits, and certain taxations.
The holiday season is the best time to put these group economics principles in place. Instead of purchasing from major retailers, explore your local community and support the small Black-owned businesses there or find Black-owned companies to support online using Black-owned apps and social media accounts dedicated to sharing Black-owned businesses to support. If you find any awesome Black-owned companies please tag us @chatswithBOB on Instagram.
You can also check out Detroit Mom’s posts on Black-Owned Bookstores and Black-Owned Food + Restaurants for some amazing businesses to support in + around Detroit!
Mandatory Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the sale of any financial product or service. It is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. If professional advice is needed, the services of a professional advisor should be sought.