I am a white, upper middle-class, female entrepreneur. Because of my white privilege, I have never experienced bias or injustice based on the color of my skin. Speaking out about racial injustice and police brutality is a difficult and uncomfortable conversation to have, as it requires recognizing the ways that I and all white people have silently benefitted from a broken system. That makes it all the more necessary.
I — along with hundreds of thousands of business owners — have the opportunity to use my business as a vehicle of change. Creating ONE #blackouttuesday Instagram post does nothing if no further action is taken. I’m committed to creating and enacting a long-term inclusivity strategy to make a stand against systemic racism and the oppression of the Black community.
It is no longer enough to silently support our Black brothers and sisters. We must put our resources — money, influence, purchasing power — toward being ACTIVELY ANTI-RACIST in our businesses, in our government and in our lives.
Here is a non-comprehensive list of changes that small, medium and corporate businesses can make to create an anti-racist organization:
Create Grants For Black-Owned Businesses
The greatest challenge Black-owned businesses face is lack of capital and cash flow. Black entrepreneurs face the additional hurdle of racist and predatory lending practices in banks — being approved less frequently for financing or with lower amounts of money at a higher interest rate. By creating Black-owned business grants within your company, you can help close the wealth gap that has systematically held back Black entrepreneurs.
Donate A Portion Of Your Sales To #BlackLivesMatter Organizations
Consider donating a percentage or lump sum of your profits to one of the many organizations fighting for equality. Has working from home cut costs from office expenditures, employee perks such as snacks or gym memberships? Take that money and put it to use; see links below.
Commit To Hiring Diverse Talent
Contribute to economic equality by maintaining a strong percentage of Black employees.
Mentor Young Black People
How much of what you know did you learn from a book; and how much did you have to learn on the job? Share your business know-how and introduce young people of color to helpful future contacts. Contribute towards a future of well-prepared Black businesspeople.
Source Products From Black-Owned Businesses
Create sustainable and long-lasting partnerships with Black-owned retailers and wholesalers. Check out Support Black Owned and create new business relationships today.
Operate Your Store Or Office In Black Communities
To create lasting change, you have to make a permanent commitment. By placing your business in a Black community, you help foster wealth creation in exploited communities.
Educate And Speak
Educate yourself. Educate your employees, partners, clients. If you see any example of bias or prejudice, speak immediately. If you have not read “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, read or listen now. Understand our history to build a new future.
Contribute To Community Organizations Fighting Social Injustice
Campaign Zero is a comprehensive platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the United States. They are also accepting donations.
Let Employees Organize Or Offer Paid Leave For Political Participation
In these days of work from home, work hours can happen at any hour. Adopt a more flexible schedule, so that employees can exercise their First Amendment rights. Extend employee paid leave allowance to include Civic Action Days.
Reevaluate Your Community
Is your business talking to all-white audience? Consider this: the Black community is projected to be the largest proportion of the US’s population by 2060.* Start a conversation that’s inclusive of all races to bolster your community and grow together for a strong, unified future.
Seek Out Black Advisors And Mentors
Bring into your “brain trust” Black advisors who can provide you with a different business view and experience. Black mentors offer a unique mindset and point of view to your own that can help guide business restructuring.
Reflect The Changes You Want To See In Your Boardroom
Diverse voices in the boardroom serve your business and your community at large.
Sign Petitions & Call Reps:
- Justice for George Floyd
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
- Defund the Police
- Master List of Petitions Supporting BLM
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Visions Collective
- Reclaim the Block
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Bailout Funds Master List by State/City
- Master List of BLM-Approved Donation Sites
Do your due diligence. Many organizations that have had a wave of support and publicity are encouraging donations to be sent to other congruent organizations.
DO NOT DONATE TO CHANGE.ORG. Your donation will not go to the cause but to change.org themselves. Your money could go to much better places. Continue to sign, but donate directly.
Note: I want to create a resource for others. Please leave a comment below of other ways that businesses can support BLM.