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It’s a hectic afternoon at Diamond Hair Studio on Ocean Avenue in the Ingleside district of San Francisco. Bridget Miller, the salon’s owner and master stylist, moves in between her hair work station, to the sink, to the dryer, working on three clients in a matter of minutes. “It’s a busy day, but we make things happen at this shop,” said Miller. “Doing hair is my passion, and at Diamond Hair we aim to please and work our magic.”
The overwhelming challenges faced by Black businesses were probably not on the minds of the 30 speakers, all white, at the Silicon Valley crowdfunding conference, but equity crowdfunding may prove to be a way to bring Black businesses roaring back – to once again anchor and stabilize Black communities and make them thrive. Crowdfunding under Title III will become a reality. Companies must wait until May 16, 2016, to begin raising money under Title III.
Have you heard of the IEP? Well, it’s shorthand for special education. It is a program that is eating Black children, boys and girls at an alarming rate. Though it sounds benign and helpful, if too many of the children are Black, then there is a problem. It is a form of tracking; and any program that targets our children, puts them in a classroom where they are stigmatized by the larger student population (when they find out), is wrong.
As I go about my travels up and down Third Street, especially frustrated over the Black corridor scene – lack of thriving Black businesses, people hanging on the streets, while other areas of the strip of avenues – Dogpatch, etc., are thriving! WHEN will change happen??? Where are Black investors? So much building going on in Bayview Hunters Point – the NEW FRONTIER AND LAST BASTION FOR BLACK FOLKS!
What has changed for the better for the Black community in and around the city? Does the City of San Francisco care about this group of disenchanted people who helped build this great city? Though the mayor heralded The City’s low unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, many Black men hearing the word “jobs” in San Francisco know better than to get too excited.
The Addition, formerly Yoshi’s, closed its doors, 77 people lost their jobs and many will wind up on unemployment. Gussie’s, the Black soul food restaurant diagonally across the street, left a couple of months ago. Rassellas Jazz Club up the street on Fillmore is gone. Will the Fillmore, once rivaled only by Harlem with its 31 restaurants and jazz clubs, die? The City did this! The question is: Did the City do enough to rectify its mistakes?
How can a group have over 3 million people with college degrees yet be so underdeveloped economically? How can a people have over 10,000 elected officials yet have so little economic power? Why do African Americans spend only 3 percent of their income with each other? Could that explain why only 9 out of every one thousand African Americans start a business, while other groups are above 100?
A week ago Sunday, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power. The gesture turned to chants – “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” – in demonstrations across the country.
In the centennial year of the Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Community League, we should think about making our communities economically self-sufficient, where our Black businesses could afford to hire every Black person in the Black community who wants to work. That will only happen if we spend most if not all of our money on a regular basis in our community with each other, as much as we can.
Some financial observers attribute the Black community’s economic woes to our unwillingness to financially support Black businesses. Well, back in 1921, in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, community named Black Wall Street, a dollar circulated 19 times before leaving the community. That was before a white mob destroyed the town. Given the ferocity of the attack and the complicity of Oklahoma police, one would think that by now survivors would’ve been compensated for what they endured, but they haven’t been.
Here we attempt to trace some of the historical antecedents and current socioeconomic processes that have served to prevent Black and Mexican American entrepreneurs from being assimilated into the mainstream of national business activities. In so doing, we must examine the evolution of Negro and Mexican American labor in the United States and its relationship to white-controlled labor unions, business and government.
On Monday, Nov. 25, President Barack Obama visited the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco to talk about his Common Sense Immigration Bill slowly making its way through the United States Congress. Immigration is always topical in a country where most of us are immigrants even in the visible absence of its First Peoples.
HO! HO! HO! The holiday season is upon us! Times are good. Folks crowding the malls, spending cash or charging their purchases; some buying on the layaway plan! Where are WE shopping? Are dollars channeled BACK to BLACK businesses on THIRD Street!??? Tough question! I travel through the corridor every day, not impressed at the options where I can spend my money.
We were labeled as a security threat group in 1995 in state prison, despite the fact that our God-Centered Culture was established in the free world in 1964 by our educator, Allah. Our God-Centered Culture also has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status like any religion under the First Amendment, but because we teach that the Black man is God and the Black woman is Earth and the white man is devil, as a collective we were deemed a threat.
Here is the lesson I’m learning from the name, He Who Walks the Earth: A family united walks the earth together. Couples walk the earth together. We come from tribes who used to walk the earth together. Why? Because there is power in numbers. Yes, you know where I am going with this. Walking the earth together and power in numbers ... this is the purpose of Buy Black Wednesdays.
When the leaders of the National Bankers Association, an organization of 37 mostly Black-owned banks, began pondering prospective recipients of their annual “Beyond the Call of Duty Award,” its president says they did not have to look very far. No question, it was Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration, he said.
2012 could be called the year of the Black quarterback. Black quarterbacks were the new breed, making most of the headlines, with players like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, aka RG3, dazzling the NFL with their scrambling ability and foot speed, accurate passing skills and overall sterling play, fulfilling the promise of all previous Black quarterbacks who paved the way.
It has been five short months since dozens of unemployed Black workers and contractors protested exclusion of Blacks from demolition and demanded inclusion of Blacks in the rebuilding of Bayview’s Willie Brown Middle School. Now SFUSD plans to ask the School Board at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m., at 555 Franklin, First Floor, to AWARD THE $44.6 MILLION CONTRACT FOR WILLIE BROWN SCHOOL TO A MAJOR WHITE CONTRACTOR without competitive bidding. Pack the meeting! Protest economic racism!
There are a lot of people out there who are concerned about how you spend your money. Embrace this glorious month of February and our incomparably rich history that extends back God knows where and support the future Gabby Douglases and Colin Kaepernicks and George Washington Carvers of the world by buying Black.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
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