Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
i can't remember the last time i saw a black-owned business in my neighborhood. i live in a fairly diverse, middle-class suburb, lots of black/what/asian/latino/indian/arab/persian/whatever people live around here. there are two 7-Elevens owned by latino & persian folk. there are liquor stores, nail shops, a laundromat, and chinese food restaurants owned by asians, there are hardwood floor showrooms, tow truck companies, and various other shops owned by white people, but not one black owned business near here. why is that? we live here. we shop here. why do black owned businesses seem like such a novelty, and not a normality
in South-Central, the heart of black people land (that sounded weird, but yeah), there were still very few black owned businesses. when the riots happened in '92, handmade cardboard signs, bearing the words "black owned," popped up in the windows of several businesses, trying to discourage crowds from looting & burning them to the ground. but we knew better.
when i was younger i always wanted to own my own business. i wasn't sure what kind, but i was very enterprising. at 10, i started a babysitting service, had my brother print some business cards in his HS print shop class, and put an add in my church bulletin. at 11, i got interested in real estate, and when i was 12, i wanted to start my own magazine. my drive to be independent & own my own business hasn't ended. i still dream of working for just me, and i'm not starting to work toward that goal.
economic freedom & stability is one of the most powerful things in the world. the ability to be in control of your own future & destiny is liberating. if we, as black people, are to truly rise, we must not only come together, but we must also encourge, support, and build businesses.
what businesses do you support? do you make a conscious effort to support independent/black owned businesses?