Since joining Tyson Foods almost 9 years ago, I’ve been a member of and worked with various Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in the company. I am currently serving as the Community Outreach Pillar lead for the newly created African Ancestry Alliance BRG, and I’m thrilled by the exciting work we are already doing to share important information and resources, especially spreading education and awareness for team members and communities during Black History Month and beyond.
One message I am passionate about during Black History Month is the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses. When I moved into my most recent apartment, I made a point to look for Black creatives to support when decorating my space and was drawn to art or prints created by Black artists. Having these pieces on display in my home is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a constant reminder that my money went to supporting a Black creative and help further their business endeavors. This Black History Month, there are several ways you can support the Black community, and an easy (and fun!) way to do so is shopping from Black-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses are outnumbered to begin with, so showing your support goes a long way – especially during these unprecedented times.
According to GreenAmerica.org, it’s important to support Black-owned business for many reasons, like closing the racial wealth gap, strengthening local economies, fostering job creation, celebrating Black culture and serving communities.
Here are a few resources to help you find ways to support Black-owned businesses in your own backyard and beyond.
Trying out dishes from Black-owned restaurants is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture while also supporting them with your dollars.
- Download the eatOkra app to find Black-owned hotspots in your area. Each listing has reviews and restaurants featured have links to online delivery/takeout options.
- Download the Black People Eats app for a comprehensive list of Black-owned restaurants to visit in your area.
- Delivery apps like UberEats have curated sections of Black-owned restaurants to order from. Just search ‘Black-owned’ in the app.
- One of my favorite Black-owned restaurants here in Chicago is Frontier. Their Executive Chef Brian Jupiter was born and raised in New Orleans and brought his take on southern comfort food to Chicago. From their warm, inviting patio to their ambitious and delicious dishes (like whole animal offerings including wild boar and alligator), they will make sure you have a wonderful and unique dining experience.
- Other must-mentions: The Delta (get the tamales!) and Batter & Berries (their French Toast flight is what dreams are made of!)
Similar to the restaurants, I love shopping at Black-owned shops and boutiques because of the unique cultural elements I find, and the new artists and creatives they allow me to discover.
- One of the largest Black-owned business directories, Official Black Wall Street, lists more than 5,000 businesses in 10 different countries. You can filter by state and category.
- Etsy has curated an entire list of shops by Black sellers in order to showcase, celebrate and uplift the talents of independent creatives. I love shopping vintage jewelry from Esh Jewelry Collection.
- The Silver Room is a true gem for shopping from Black creatives! Owned by Eric Williams, its mission is to create a global community through art and culture. When you step into their physical location in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, you’ll feel like you’re visiting a showroom full of art and culture. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a gift for a loved one, and they have an online store to shop from as well.
- Other Must Mentions: Kido Chicago (a children’s clothing store) and Semicolon (a Black woman-owned bookstore)
Into fitness? Here’s a list of 50 black-owned yoga studios across the country.
There are so many more resources for finding Black-owned businesses in your area, and I hope this list makes it even easier! These small acts build and build, and they make a difference in Black communities – especially during a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected those very communities.
We are already about halfway through Black History Month, but the support should not stop on February 28, so save this list for future reference and a reminder to frequent Black-owned businesses year-round. If you find a business you enjoy, make sure you continue to make purchases from it, and share with your family and friends so the awareness for Black-owned businesses continues to grow.