by JR Valrey, Black New World Media
Nothing is ever all bad or all good. As my writer friends used to say, always look for the silver lining during a disaster or tragedy. Innovation, new Black businesses, and new business leaders popping up have been the most exciting part of the 2020 shelter in place experience for many.
Tyerra J, a Bayview Hunters Point native, created www.GlimmerofBliss.com, part Black business networking hub and part mentoring program, and is adding to that creative and economic fire that COVID has started locally in the Black communities of the Bay Area during this pandemic quarantine. Not having to worry about the matrix every weekday or what Bob Marley called the “Rat Race,” bandwidth space has been freed up in Black minds resulting in us being more risk-taking, calculated and courageous with our destinies and future. All we know is that the pre-COVID status quo did not serve Black interests, and we are not trying to return to that reality.
Tyerra J’s GlimmerofBliss.com is a living example of a Black woman having life proverbially serving her and the community lemons and her having the ability, drive and knowledge to turn it into lemonade. She deserves our salute.
JR Valrey: Can you describe what inspired you to create the GlimmerofBliss.com website?
Tyerra J: I was inspired to create GlimmerofBliss.com because I was having a hard time coping with the stresses of today’s world: dealing with being laid off, not being able to see my loved ones, TV was saturated with depressing news and then the powerful actions from the Black community and more, once the George Floyd murder was publicized.
I was sitting at home four months pregnant and I knew I had to do something. I had to create a platform to provide healing during this stressful time, a virtual place that people can go to and see a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel – and from that a Glimmer of Bliss was created. This is a site where I post only positive content to help ease your mind and make you enjoy life for a few minutes.
I promote Black-owned businesses in the Bay Area and local Black entrepreneurs who live in your neighborhood. You hear all of these companies and people speaking out saying they will take a stand and help support the Black community. Well, let’s see them put their money where their mouth is and take action.
I will provide you with names of Black entrepreneurs that you can invest in or even support. So ultimately GlimmerofBliss.com was created as a way of me leaving my stamp on this world and letting my kids know that I contributed to the Black community during one of the world’s biggest pandemics and civil rights movements in history.
JR Valrey: Why do you think it is necessary to put a focus on supporting Black businesses?
Tyerra J: It is not only necessary but vital that we put a focus on supporting Black-owned businesses right now. The unfair injustices that the Black community has been facing all of our lives are being magnified right now.
So to every Black-owned business and entrepreneur out there, I am sure they had to work double time and sacrifice much more than others to get their business to become a reality. We must honor them and promote them because we have to start creating Black generational wealth. And it starts with allowing these businesses to flourish so they can hire more people in their community and continue to grow.
It’s not enough for large companies to say that they stand by Black Lives Matter. If we are keeping their businesses financial booming, it’s time for them to give back as well. Black businesses will be the future and, with the focus on this community right now, we really need everyone to stand up for this as well.
Let young children see what other career options are possible for them and what it looks like to be inspired to dream big. Because against all odds, we’re seeing Black-owned businesses started with the owner having to fight against what they were told they couldn’t do their entire life. So to see them make it happen, we have to shine a light on them and let them know we see them and we support them.
JR Valrey: How has the COVID pandemic affected Black businesses in San Francisco?
Tyerra J: The COVID pandemic has affected Black businesses in San Francisco in two ways. The first being the negative, which was the obvious cut in business due to the stay-at-home order that was made back in March 2020. With the government making it mandatory for non-essential workers to stay home, it left these businesses with no choice but to close their doors.
Consumers were no longer spending their dollars as freely for months, some being afraid they wouldn’t even have money to pay rent let alone spend their dollars somewhere! Those renting in commercial real estate buildings had to figure out a way to cover their rent. It was a domino effect which led to employees being laid off or, even worse, to some of these businesses having to permanently close down.
Secondly, with every event in life, though, comes a positive – and now online business is booming! More entrepreneurs have begun to emerge and come to light.
One thing I know about our community is that we are fighters and we look for ways to overcome any obstacles. And it makes me so happy to see these future businessmen and ladies promoting themselves – and not a large company that they work for.
I thought about the mentors that I had and still have in my life, complete strangers who saw the best in me and believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself.
All the energy someone can put into representing a company that they work for or trying to shine to your boss by being the best worker, now that energy is put back into the person. Now they represent themselves and with more time on people’s hands, you can see a change in their mindset. The Black community is coming up with ways to get income flowing back in their pockets and that is a huge positive take away from this awful crisis that we currently face.
JR Valrey: What is the “GoBliss Mentors” program?
Tyerra J: GoBliss Mentors is a program that I created in July of 2020, to provide support to anyone in need of it during this pandemic. It’s a program for people of all ages to be a part of if they are interested in creating a new avenue of support that may be missing right now.
Our mission is to restore peace of mind and provide a light at the end of the tunnel. I thought about my struggles and what I am dealing with right now in this “new world” that we are living in and I had to think about what made me get through rough times.
And I thought about the mentors that I had and still have in my life, complete strangers who saw the best in me and believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. My mentors have opened up doors for me that I never thought were possible, such as career opportunities, teaching me ways to save and invest my money, and ultimately paving a path for me that leads me to being successful.
This is what the GoBliss Mentors will offer to those who seek them out. Creating a bond now and letting them know that someone out there has your back and your best interests in mind. We all need someone to push us and it allows you to walk with your head held high knowing that you have someone that you can confide in.
Each GoBliss Mentor has their own story, their own career path, their own way of inspiring others and they are looking forward to receiving emails from anyone who feels like they can benefit from this program. It’s our modern day version of Big Brother Big Sister, but it’s created by a young Black woman born in the Bayview district of San Francisco.
Simply go to GlimmerofBliss.com and select the “GoBliss Mentors” tab and read up on each individual. Once you feel like you would like to connect with that mentor, you select their email address and take it away from there. You can make it your own and each mentor cannot wait to get to know you.
JR Valrey: What is the importance of mental health in the Black community?
Tyerra J: Mental health is extremely important in the Black community. Since the day we were born, we were told that life will be harder for us. So we mentally prepare for struggle and look for ways to break out of it.
We are still battling systemic injustices and it’s being broadcast on TV, social media, radio, and just about every angle you turn, it’s there. This can be mentally draining and as we see protests break out across the world, you also see more people with hate in their heart make a stand against us. That is why mental health in our community is important to talk about.
Depression is real; bipolar syndrome is real! We have to talk about it so people can get help or know what options they have to receive care. If your mind is only taking in negativity, how could you see that your life is important?
Take time to process what is going on with your loved ones. Seek help for them if they cannot do it on their own. If your mentality is being fed with motivational things or more hopeful images and positive content, the way you see life is different. Either you see the glass half empty or half full and that is solely based around an individual’s state of mind.
That is why I hope that my site can be a place for everyone to receive positive content. Instead of talking about what you saw on the news today, you can talk about what you saw on the site and start a conversation that leads to you inspiring another person and another person. Creating a community of love and support vs. hate and uncertainty.
JR Valrey: How do people get in touch with you?
Tyerra J: I provide multiple ways for people to get in touch with me on the GlimmerofBliss.com website. I have my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram links available. I have a “Contact Me” page where you can send me a message. Or you can always reach out to me by emailing Ty@GlimmerofBliss.com.
I welcome everyone to my page and really hope you take the time to view the site where there are quick read blogs, Black-owned businesses information, entertaining videos of celebrities and so much more. It’s a place to zen out for the day and vent on the site if you need to in the “Let’s talk about it” section.
Because joining the Glimmer of Bliss community will show you that we are all taking it day by day to make it through and as long as we’ve got each other, the sky’s the limit!
SF Bay View Oakland Bureau Chief JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of the Black New World Journalists Society, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Visit www.youtube.com/blockreporttv. All stories related to COVID-19 were partially made possible by the Akonadi Fund #SoLoveCanWin.