A city-wide effort to support minority-owned small businesses during the COVID19 pandemic began as a simple idea in the living room of Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin. In order to have some fun and celebrate his own birthday, he invited constituents to a community-wide pizza party to support small businesses using the hashtag, #PrezPizzaParty.
Blown away by the connectivity and the outpouring of support, Hardin is taking the idea further and inviting residents to participate in “Buy Black Thursdays”, an initiative to support minority-owned businesses. The effort launches on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
“Buying black is not a new concept,” said Hardin. “Supporting minority-owned businesses is how thriving neighborhoods like Bronzeville were created. Our local businesses need us now, more than ever, and we need to support them to prevent future layoffs or closures.”
Residents are asked to prioritize their spending at local, black-owned businesses on Thursdays during the pandemic and beyond. When sharing their experience to social media, people are asked to use the hashtags #BuyBlackThursdays, #BuyBlack and #ShopBlack.
The Buy Black Thursdays movement involves a collective of local businesses and organizations including the Columbus Urban League, the Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce, the Baptist Ministerial Alliance, Columbus Urban League Young Professionals, My Brother’s Keeper Village, the City of Columbus and a variety of other community partners. Each group is working to spread the word and raise awareness of the need to patron minority-owned businesses in the City.
“We know there is a need out there, especially in the Black community,” said Hardin. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and provide a large number of jobs that support our residents. They are restaurants, boutiques, barbers, salons, small firms and many more who will face the brunt of the economic fallout.”
Hardin worked to connect partner organizations from across the City to find solutions to raise awareness about the issues facing small businesses in the black community. As a result of the initiative, there has been an increase in engagement between minority owned businesses and the City. Hardin encourages minority owned businesses and entrepreneurs to reach out to our Office of Diversity and Inclusion for resources and support beyond the pandemic.
“We want to support small businesses and keep our City healthy,” said Yonder Gordon, owner of Way Down Yonder. “I’m proud to join Council President Hardin on behalf of the people of Columbus. Thanks to his leadership and hope to spur spending in the black community.”
For a list of black-owned businesses and further information, visit https://www.coaacc.org/thelist.html.
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