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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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2021 Budget Adopted

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City of San Antonio’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Makes Investments in Public Health, Housing and Workforce Development

SAN ANTONIO (September 17, 2020) – Today, the City Council unanimously adopted the $2.9 billion Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which is $4.4 million lower than last year’s budget, stays well below the statutory cap on property taxes and continues to invest resources in the four pillars of the Recovery & Resilience Plan, which includes keeping people in their homes, training people to secure jobs that are available today, supporting small businesses and improving digital connectivity for residents.

“The goal of the fiscal year 2021 budget is to maintain the city services that our residents expect, while also helping them recover from the devastating economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “We’ve been able to make meaningful investments in the services our community asked for, including public health, housing and human services, such as resources for mental health and support for those experiencing homelessness.”

The FY 2021 Adopted Budget invests $346 million in the community to vital services including health, housing, education and human services; this is in addition to the $291 million from federal grants targeted to assist the City with the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, as part of the continued response to COVID-19, many departments, such as Metro Health, Fire, Neighborhood & Housing Services, Economic Development and Human Services, have changed their focus to address the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and help San Antonio recover from its effects.

Public Health

$45.8 million is allocated to Metro Health, including $20.3 million in the General Fund, which is a 29.6 percent increase compared to the FY 2020 Adopted Budget, the largest proportional increase of any department. The Adopted Budget creates a new Violence Prevention Division in Metro Health with a total investment of $8.9 million, including $1.3 million in new funds, and the transfer of 20 Crisis Response Team employees from the San Antonio Police Department to Metro Health. 

The adopted budget also includes $1 million to expand the Healthy Neighborhood Program and to create a new Community Health Connector Partnership and augment other public health programs. The adopted budget also adds $120,000 to add 12 healthy corner stores in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7, while maintaining support for the eight stores in District 3. This program provides healthy food options to areas that lack access to grocery stores. 

Housing

The FY 2021 Adopted Budget allocates $27.5 million for affordable housing initiatives. This allocation also includes $300,000 for new legal kiosks at key city locations to assist at-risk populations. 

Policing

The adopted budget includes $486.5 million for the San Antonio Police Department, an increase of 1.7%. Nearly all of the increase is contractually-obligated (by the collective bargaining agreement with the police union) or state law-required. The proposed budget reallocates $1.6 million from the police budget to accept a federal COPS grant to hire 25 new officers focused on preventing domestic violence and reduces overtime for police officers by $3.4 million.

The FY 2021 Adopted Budget also introduces a deliberate process to address foundational issues within the police department, review police services and engage the entire community on expectations. The San Antonio Police Department responds to more than 2.1 million calls for service per year, some of which may be more appropriately handled by other departments and service providers. The process will review foundational issues, such as accountability and discipline of officers, determine the community’s expectations of the police department, incorporate community input and identify funding and alternative response mechanisms. A draft plan will be presented to the City Council by April 2021. Negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the San Antonio Police Officers Association will begin in the spring of 2021.

Support for Residents Experiencing Food Insecurity

The budget also invests $1 million in the San Antonio Food Bank’s Culinary Center. The project will provide more prepared meals for families experiencing food insecurity. The center will also increase Culinary Training program class size, provide space for on-site nutrition education classes and allow the San Antonio Food Bank to be more prepared in the event of a natural disaster or future pandemic. 

General Fund 

The General Fund, the largest operating fund in the proposed budget, is $1.28 billion, which is a 0.7 percent increase over FY 2020. The increase is primarily due to compensation increases from the collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire unions. The Adopted Budget includes new and existing investments in community service priorities. These investments include:

  • Small business support: additional $500,000 that partially reinstates a City fee waiver program and an establishes a new entrepreneurship program
  • Violence Prevention: a new division in Metro Health with a total investment of $8.9 million, including $1.3 million in new funds and the transfer of 20 Crisis Response Team workers from SAPD to Metro Health
  • Affordable Housing: $27.5 million to assist residents at risk of displacement and facilitate the development of affordable housing
  • Homelessness and Mental Health: $36 million investment, representing a $1 million more than FY 2021. $560,000 will allow the City to expand the Homeless Outreach Team created through the recovery and resiliency plan resulting in 11 district outreach Teams (one per district and downtown). $500,000 is added for an alternative mental health response option
  • Healthy Food Access: $120,000 to add 12 healthy corner stores in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7, while maintaining support for the 8 stores in District 3
  • Education: $1.1 million to AlamoPROMISE to provide college scholarships to Alamo Colleges students
  • Human Services and Workforce Development: $24.3 million for delegate agencies providing critical services to San Antonio residents

The General Fund also adapts to a new fiscal reality and the impacts of COVID-19 by including $87 million in budget cuts over two years ($38 million in FY 2021 and $49 million in FY 2022) due to revenue reductions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some the of the reductions include: 

  • Reduction of $14 million through City hiring freeze for most vacant positions, no pay increases for City employees, and other compensation adjustments
  • Suspension of economic development incentives saving $5.5 million
  • $3.4 million in reductions to the Police Department overtime budget and suspension of Police Cadet Hiring Bonus program ($739,500) 
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