Hard to believe that holiday shopping is already upon us.
It seems that every passing year, big box stores roll out their massive selections earlier and earlier. Consumers are typically drawn to these large displays, like fish in the ocean attracted to shiny things.
This year has been more difficult than ever and filled with hardships—from COVID-19, to protests for social change, to hate crimes against people of color, to a more divided country.
People want joy, they want to sing and hug—but this year will simply not be the same.
Whether or not you celebrate the upcoming holidays, this season will not be forgotten. Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs, households have been turned upside down, and teachers and students are trying to navigate a new “normal” with online and hybrid classes. Kids are sitting alone at lunch, team sports are on hold, our disabled youth are not receiving the attention from skilled professionals. Health care professionals selflessly show up daily for strangers while putting their lives at risk. The unknowns in our current environment are exhausting.
I know this is not permanent, but fatigue has taken over. My heart feels heavy just by the thought of it.
The BLM—Black Lives Matter—movement that took on a country-wide protest to be heard was especially heartbreaking. To watch the lack of support from state to state and federal government is disheartening. There were leaders in my community who advocated for BLM, but they ended up getting pushed out. We had a Black female chief of police who ended up retiring early because of the lack of support. She and our female mayor both received death threats, as well as people showing up at their homes and invading their privacy to instill more hate and violence. Our city was crumbling from destruction of property, small businesses were innocently destroyed, and their neighbors could not leave their own homes without fear.
This is not the America I want to know.
Where is the unity and acceptance of all? One nation under God?
The archaic representation of America has got to change. We need more Black leaders in our cities, rural areas, congress, and state legislature to be seen and heard. We need more white people to be conscious of and have respect for the community when moving into minority neighborhoods. We need to be diversifying predominantly white neighborhoods and schools.
We saw activists come forth with questions, suggestions, and demands for a change. Albeit some change has been made recently, through having Black voices heard, but it’s not enough. The expressions on the faces of BLM leaders asserting that their lives do matter and the crying mothers and fathers who lost their children to gun violence forever left an imprint on my heart. The fury that builds inside my chest is consuming.
I am a white woman and a mother. I have not feared harmful acts on my children as they walk the neighborhood. I do not worry about what opportunities the world will offer my girls. There are many more barriers to break down for women, but they would still be able to get financial support to pursue an entrepreneurial dream. Historically, for white women, this has been proven.
There are steps we can easily take now to fill in the wealth gap in Black communities. The more small business owners are supported, the more they can supply jobs and opportunities to the unemployed, and in turn give back to the economy. Historically, Black people have not been given the same treatment in terms of small business loans, grants, and scholarships to become leaders or entrepreneurs in their communities. This is because, for a long time, the Black community was excluded from access to fair opportunities for success.
What does this mean for me? For the future of our Black children? It means that we all need to unify our country and demand a change. The weight has been on the shoulders of minorities and their ancestors for too long. It is not possible for us to have equality if we do not have emendation to our societal patterns.
Are you still with me? Do you crave transformation?
If the answer is yes, it’s time to get to work.
The power of the Black community and their families is captivating and powerful. They are strong, resilient, and supportive. We can learn a lot from their history, and we need to empower them to keep going. Let us be a shining example of togetherness and prosperity.
“There are currently 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in America, where 8 out of 10 fail within their first 18 months due to the lack of resources and funds.” ~ DeSean Brewer, Gray Group International
This statistic should give you a new perspective in finding ways to grow wealth in these small communities. Urge our youth to aspire and make them attainable. If they grow up to see Black leadership and Black-owned businesses successful, this will encourage them to dream big. Give them hope for a changed world rather than the one their parents and grandparents were familiar with.
If the images and vibration of our country falling apart in the last few months shook you, then I leave you with an obligation to create change for our fellow brothers and sisters. Make these steps intentional. If we all do our part, this can help strengthen many Black communities and be a symbol of hope.
Here are a few resources, but I encourage you to inspire others near and far—six feet apart or virtually, of course. Let us unite during these challenging times and give support to those who need it most. Let us lift one another up this holiday season instead of harboring negativity and fear. Find families that need aid more than ever before.
Begin 2021 on a path of positivity, love, and inclusivity. Happy holidays!
How to support Black-owned businesses:
>> Shop local, buy local—whenever you can. This needs to be number one on your list of where to shop! For our local Black community, and for our planet!
>> Webuyblack.com is the largest online marketplace with fast and free shipping.
Leave more suggestions in the comments! If you are a person of color with your own business, add your link in the comments so we can support you!