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Massage Parlors Could Get Stricter Rules

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Following complaints of drugs and prostitution at local massage parlors, Councilman Cruz Shaw worked with the San Antonio Police Department to update and amend the existing ordinance to make stricter penalties.

“I’m glad this item is moving forward to the next phase for approval,” said Councilman Shaw. “Through a community-driven process, the city is creating policy that will target bad actors and eliminate activities that often contribute to human trafficking. This proposal is simply making it easier for law enforcement to do their job.”

Since 2017, a total of 28 investigations have been completed resulting in 48 citations, 19 arrests and the closure of two establishments by SAPD’s Vice Unit, in coordination with the City Attorney’s Office, Development Services, Health Department and the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. The overwhelming majority of violations can be attributed to approximately 15 establishments within the city.

Earlier in March, three massage businesses were shut down in Leon Valley for violations with prostitution. Typically, investigations are comprised of an internet search on prominent review sites to determine if the establishment in question has a history of illegal activities followed by an undercover operation that includes an attempt to obtain prostitution services.

The owner is responsible for criminal activity even if the owner had no knowledge of the illegal activity. Individuals arrested for illegal activity are reported to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation which may choose to revoke the individual’s massage license. The City may file a lawsuit against a business in an effort to force the business to close once a minimum of six cases related to sexual, drug-related or violent crimes occur at the property.o

To update and amend the existing ordinance, the following amendments have been identified:

  • Require businesses cited for the following violations within a 12 month period to obtain city permit ($75 fee):
    • Charge of any violation of the Penal Code
    • Three or more minimum housing violations
    • Failure to post TDLR license for business, owner and/or masseur
  • Increase penalty for operating without a permit from $200 to $500
  • Add criminal violations as basis for revocation
  • Revocation of certificate of occupancy following multiple violations
  • Prohibit businesses from having sleeping quarters and metal doors
Businesses cited for violations will have its permit revoked which will also result in the loss of its certificate of occupancy for the property. The city will begin the process to engage stakeholders in reviewing changes to the ordinance. The amendments will then be submitted to full City Council for consideration. A draft of the proposed ordinance can be viewed here.
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As “Shop Black Week” 2020 is Primed to Make History, TikTok, Shopify, Amazon and Walmart Are Now Jumping on the Bandwagon

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ATLANTA, Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — “Shop Black Week” began years ago as a meeting of the minds that included determined Black business owners and community organizers as a campaign to promote Black economic empowerment that soon escalated and became a world-wide movement. The idea of Shop Black Week (SBW) was to encourage consumers to simply add “shopping with a Black-owned business” to their to-do-list. The Official Shop Black Week 2020 campaign has over 200 organizations involved, which represents over 1.5 million members, subscribers and followers who will share and hashtag #shopblackweek to encourage mass participation. The SBW campaign simply asks every American to make at least one purchase from a Black-owned business from November 20-27th and into the holiday season.

Systemic economic disparities are not new; however, the COVID-19 pandemic brought this to the forefront. Recently, an overwhelming amount of attention has been placed on the disparities and injustices within the Black community. Because the SBW organizers are Black business owners themselves, they were more than aware of these disparities and even more than aware that nothing short of a major movement would be necessary to address this issue knowing that many small businesses suffered and had to shut down.

As Black business-owners, the SBW campaign began as a S.O.S. (Save Our-Selves) call to action. However, it seems that others want in on the Black movement because it is in fashion these days. Recently, TikTok, Wal-Mart, Amazon and Shopify (all non-Black owned entities) have launched Black initiatives, and specifically TikTok has termed their “new initiative,” unbelievably, “Shop Black Week” too. According to the organizers of the Official Shop Black Week, in an attempt to preempt the Official Shop Black Week campaign, the corporate giant has created a new start date, one week before the official grassroots campaign launches. “Google ‘shop black week,’ to see hundreds of results displayed; visit the website to see all of our participating organizations and partners. As the true Official ‘Shop Black Week,’ we are concerned that these large corporate giants have not responded to our request for partnership, but instead, they are attempting seemingly to capitalize off Black consumers and business owners,” said Carla Tillman, PhD, Shop Black Week’s National Director.

The copycat shop-black-week promoters indicated that they have hand-picked and pre-selected some Black-owned vendors to feature. “That’s great!” says Sharon S. Gordon, media partner of SBW, “however, organizers of the Official Shop Black Week campaign welcome all types of Black-owned businesses who would be able to keep 100% of the proceeds from their products and services.” A qualified business simply has to register and pass the vetting process by signing up at shopblackweek.org. Organizers of the Official SBW forecast an average of 30,000 daily website visitors who will be searching to find quality Black-owned businesses to support.

Everyone making a purchase from a Black-owned business during Shop Black Week November 20-27th should hashtag #shopblackweek and let everyone know about any purchases including business names, locations, dates and photos.

Press Contact, Latoya Meshell, (833) 991-0911 or 258334@email4pr.com

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Greenwood Closes $3 million Seed Round To Build Online Banking Solution for Blacks and Latinx

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Venture founded by Ambassador Andrew Young, Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render and Ryan Glover

NEWS PROVIDED BYGreenwood Financial 

Michael Render, better known as “Killer Mike,” rapper turned activist, and Ambassador Andrew J. Young, civil rights legend and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Former Mayor of Atlanta, and Ryan Glover, Greenwood Chairman and founder of Bounce TV network are all founders of Greenwood, the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. They have secured $3 million in seed money from investors

Greenwood’s initial products are savings and spending accounts that come with a stunningly designed black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year. Advanced features like Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations are offered with no hidden fees. Customers who invite their friends to open accounts receive cash awards as a thank you from Greenwood. All deposits are FDIC insured by a partner bank.

Additionally, Greenwood plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen historically black banks.

“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Ambassador Andrew Young. “We have the skills, talent and energy to compete anywhere in the world, but to grow the economy, it has to be based on the spirit of the universe and not the greed of the universe. Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.”

A mere five days after the October 8 announcement of the company, Greenwood has received more than 100,000 sign-ups to the waiting list for Greenwood’s digital banking platform at www.bankgreenwood.com. This pace illustrates the demand for a modern solution for minority banking and makes Greenwood one of the most successful launches in the history of the financial services industry.

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Facebook Rolls Out #BuyBlack Friday

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(photo) La’Asia Johnson, Founder of Elle Jae Essentials

With the holiday season fast approaching and the harsh realities of COVID -19 still lingering in the world, Facebook wants to do its part to further support Black-owned businesses. Facebook recently announced its #BuyBlack Friday campaign with the hope of celebrating and supporting black-owned businesses and their communities which have been extremely impacted by the pandemic. 

It is well known that Black-owned businesses are closing at double to triple the rate of other small businesses. Facebook will be working closely with the US Black Chambers and encouraging people to #Buy Black over the holidays. Staring October 30th Facebook will be introducing features in the Facebook app. They’ll also be hosting a range of events and resources within Facebook’s Lift Black Voices Hub, and airing the #BuyBlack Friday Show that will air live every Friday from October 20 – November 27 featuring Black businesses, musical artists and entertainers, writers, etc.

Consumers and Facebook users can visit https://about.fb.com/news/2020/10/buy-black-friday/ for more information.

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