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People Across America Are Invited to Boost Local Black-Owned Restaurants

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Make Your Meal Count: People Across America Are Invited to Boost Local Black-Owned Restaurants on the First-Ever “Pepsi® Dig In Day” on Nov. 6

Calling all food lovers! Pepsi is sharing a first look at some of the signature events and perks arriving for the first-ever Dig In Day, a celebration of all Black-owned restaurants and chefs across America. On Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, everyone is invited to uplift Black-owned restaurants in their community simply by enjoying delicious food and refreshing beverages.

“We all have to eat so let’s create a positive butterfly effect for small businesses and communities alike by being intentional about where we dine or order from,” said Chef JJ Johnson, Pepsi Dig In Day ambassador and James Beard Award-winning chef, TV personality, author and owner of FIELDTRIP restaurants located throughout New York City. “FIELDTRIP will serve a signature rice bowl in honor of Dig In Day, and I’m making plans to support my favorite Black-owned restaurants.”

Pepsi is calling everyone to come together before, during and after Dig In Day by dining with or ordering from their Black-owned restaurant of choice, then uploading their receipts to DigInPassport.com – a new site that makes it easy to explore Black-owned restaurants, track purchases to show support, and earn a chance for rewards. Many Black-owned restaurants across the country are planning special offerings and activities that will make this first Dig In Day delicious for all.

Free Feasts on Pepsi Dig In Day (Nov. 6)

In all corners of the country, Dig In Day food trucks will serve up complimentary bites and ice-cold Pepsi Zero Sugar from various Black-owned restaurants:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl will warm up fans with its three signature chili bowls at the University of Maryland vs Penn State University tailgate in College Park, Md.
  • Brotherly Grub will share standout southern-inspired cuisine with a local twist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Off the Bone Barbeque of Dallas, Texas will dish out gourmet barbecue at the Baylor University vs Texas Christian University tailgate in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Trap Kitchen will whip up Cajun fare at the Black International Marketplace of Oakland, Calif.

For dine in, Seafood Connection will offer free, signature seafood dishes with house-made secret sauce at its restaurant in Houston, Texas.

Limited-Edition Merch Drop on NTWRK

To commemorate Dig In Day and inspire Gen-Z and Millennial audiences to get engaged, Pepsi joined forces with NTWRK, North America’s premier livestream shopping platform, to create a limited-edition collectible. Chef Johnson and fashion designer/creative director Sheron Barber teamed up to design a Crossbody Culinary Case, which will be available exclusively on the NTWRK app on Nov. 6  at 9 a.m. PST/12 p.m. EST in ultra-limited quantities.

The all-original luxury leather bag and carrier was made with versatility in mind, combining functional features and easy-to-wear style elements for everyday use for everyone from chefs to on-the-go creators. The multi-purpose, black crossbody bag also features a detachable interior knife bag with cutlery compartments, pocketing, and reinforced padded walls.

How to Make Your Meal Count and Earn Rewards  

Food lovers are invited to create a wave of positive impact for Black-owned restaurants on Dig In Day. The mobile-friendly Pepsi DigInPassport.com helps people seamlessly find Black-owned restaurants, upload receipts, and earn just-unveiled digital badges that can be redeemed for tasty prizes that continue to feed the Black culinary community including gift cards, cooking classes and cool collectibles. Here’s how to get involved on Dig In Day and beyond:

  1. Eat: Dine at a local Black-owned restaurant, in person or by ordering, and save your receipt.
  2. Upload: Visit DigInPassport.com to sign up, upload your receipt, and automatically earn a chance to win culinary rewards. 
  3. Repeat: Start supporting Black-owned eateries before, during and after the special day; and encourage friends and family to do the same by sharing delicious meals on social with #DigInDay.

“We’re re-igniting support with individuals and companies alike by giving them an easy way to make their meal count on Dig In Day and every day,” said Scott Finlow, Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “Our goal is to go beyond this moment to feed a movement and we’re already seeing incredible excitement from the restaurant community, our PepsiCo associates, and corporate partners who together can really make this big.”

Dig In Day ambassador Chef JJ Johnson and fashion designer Sheron Barber collaborate on an all-original luxury leather bag and carrier collectible that pays homage to Black-owned restaurants and Pepsi Dig In Day.

Organizations Buying Their Employees Lunch from Black-Owned Restaurants

Pepsi is inviting other companies to join the movement by buying their employees lunch from Black-owned restaurants or encouraging them to participate leading up to Dig In Day. Confirmed corporate partners to date include Arizona Diamondbacks, BentoBox, Eastport Holdings, LLC, Forward Motion Media, Fuse, Genesco Sports Enterprises, Golin, Intersport, The James Beard Foundation, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Rams, Lowe’s, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Dolphins, Miami HEAT, Minnesota Twins, Monumental Sports, National Basketball Association, National Football League, Oak View Group, Pinterest, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ten35, Vail Resorts, Washington Capitals, Washington Football Team, Washington Mystics, Washington Wizards, and WCNC (ABC).

How Restaurants Can Participate in Dig In Day

Pepsi is sharing creative ways to get people ordering online and walking through the doors of Black-owned restaurants. Black restaurateurs are invited to visit PepsiDigIn.com to access resources to grow their business and make the most of Dig In Day, including dedicated toolkits to provide restaurant owners with templated brand materials to help bolster their marketing and social media efforts.

About Pepsi Dig In

In 2020, PepsiCo committed more than $400 million to advance racial equality within the company, industry and communities it serves. As part of that, the company dedicated $50 million to support Black-owned businesses over the next five years. As a result, PepsiCo developed a multi-faceted platform designed to drive access, business acceleration, and awareness including millions in grants and resources. Restaurateurs interested in learning more can visit pepsidigin.com/resources-for-restaurateurs and food lovers can follow @PepsiDigIn on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Pepsi Dig In Day is the latest and most broad-reaching initiative the brand is spearheading to drive $100 million in sales for Black-owned restaurants over the next five years. A concerted effort to support these diverse culinary establishments that serve as the cornerstone for communities across the nation, the Dig In Day national call to action will be supported by dedicated advertising, partnerships, business resources and local events.

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Stork’s Nest Community Conversations

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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Alpha Pi Zeta Chapter launches its Stork’s Nest Community Conversations program, with its first event on Feb. 18 at St. Philip’s College from 10 am to noon.  

Stork’s Nest Community Conversations will bring expectant mothers, their support groups, health and medical care experts, advocates, and government leaders together. Its purpose is to educate and engage on pregnancy and women’s health topics.  

March of Dimes 2022 Report Card depicts the need for collaborative work and innovative ideas to improve Texas preterm births. Texas’ preterm birth rate is 11.4% (D-). Bexar County and San Antonio’s preterm birth rates are 12.0% (F). The preterm birth rate among Black women in Texas is 41% –  higher than among other women. 

The Alpha Pi Zeta Chapter will host four Community Conversations throughout the year. On May 20, the topic is Learn How Legislation Affects You: Meet the Medical and Government Experts. On Aug. 19, the topic is Postpartum Education: What to Expect When You and Your Baby Come Home. And on Nov. 18, there will be a health fair, and a conversation on You are in Control: Health and Finances. 

The sorority’s Stork’s Nest 3.0 e-Learning Course also educates pregnant women to help improve birth outcomes and develop healthy lifestyles. Since 2021, the Stork’s Nest 3.0 e-Learning Course has enrolled 108 clients and has averaged an 86% graduation rate. The sorority partners with the Alpha Pi Zeta Foundation, the March of Dimes, the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, African American Health Disparities Council.

The Feb. 18 Stork’s Nest Community Conversations will be in the Turbon Student Center on the 2nd floor of St. Philip’s (1801 Martin Luther King Drive). To learn more about future Community Conversations, just put Stork’s Nest Community Conversations in the search bar of Eventbrite.

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Black History Events – Safe Spots for Black Motorists to IKEA Exhibit

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Black history is American history 365 days a year, and here are some events in February from the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM) to learn about African American influences and achievements. Located at La Villita (218 South Presa), the mission of SAAACAM is to collect, preserve and share the cultural heritage of African Americans in the San Antonio region. 

Feb. 7 from 10  am – 11 am – Story Time in the Park at the Hemisfair (434 S. Alamo Street). Each month young explorers learn and play around the theme of being different while being included. A short story is shared followed by a hands-on learning activity. 

Feb. 11 from 1 pm – 3 pm  – Black History River Tour (218 South Presa). Join SAAACAM on the San Antonio River for a 100-minute cruise exploring San Antonio’s Black history and the holiday lights that adorn the Riverwalk. The trip starts at La Villita, where it travels north through the Museum Reach to the Pearl, then back downtown to the Alamo, Convention Center and back to La Villita. Participants will be surprised at the continued African American influence in San Antonio.

Feb. 13 from 8 am – 10 am – Black Resistance at the Lunch Counter (IKEA Live Oak, Live Oak). SAAACAM and IKEA Live Oak celebrate the opening of the new exhibition at IKEA Live Oak “Black Resistance at the Lunch Counter,” with a complimentary breakfast. The exhibit will be available to the public for viewing from Feb. 13 through March 16. 

Feb. 22 from 2 pm – 4 pm – Green Book Historic Marker Unveiling (218 South Presa). View the locations of San Antonio’s Safe Spots for Negro Motorists during the Jim Crow era researched by students of the Texas A & M University-San Antonio, Methods of Historical Research Class (2022) led by Dr. Pamela Walker. This is a free event, but registration is required.

For more information about the different events and how to participate, visit (SAAACAM.org).

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People of Color Increasing Pet Ownership

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By Melissa Monroe

I have a confession to make. When my son was 5 years old, I lied and told him our beloved dog, Simba, ran away. You see, Simba, a beautiful white spitz mix breed, wasn’t the fun-loving character like on Lion King. Instead, he was the vicious growling Cujo. 

Simba wanted to go everywhere with us when my daughter was born (when my son was 5). He was loving to the family, but no one could pet him. I mean, NO ONE! We would have to put him in a bedroom when someone wanted to visit. After 10 years, I had to make the hard decision to give him to San Antonio Animal Care Services

After that experience, I was traumatized from owning another pet but finally gave in when my two kids wanted a toy poodle. Mojo now is much different, though he has issues too. He does allow people to at least touch him. So why this long intro? Because, like many people of color, I didn’t want to be stereotyped as not being a good pet owner since I’m not white. In fact, Mojo gets his “hair done” more than I do. I even had pet insurance for him at one point. 

Pet owners like myself are fueling the billion-dollar pet industry. According to consumer market research company, Package Facts, the U.S. pet industry continued its strong advance in 2021, surging 14% overall to $123 billion. The company also reported that pets now live in 67 million U.S. households, and multicultural pet owners are a key reason. 

Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans are an influential and growing segment among owners of dogs, cats, and other pets. Compared to a decade ago, pet owners are now more likely to be a member of a multicultural population segment (28% in 2018 vs. 22% in 2008).

Another reason why I enjoy being a pet owner is because of the love pets show you. Mojo is the first to greet me at the door when I get home and never talks back to me (smile). A large majority of pet owners believe their pets have a beneficial impact on their emotional and physical health. 

We see evidence of that with the increasing demand for service dogs to help ease people with PTSD, autism, seizures, diabetes, and much more. Training for these working dogs can range in the tens of thousands of dollars, and many fail to become top-notch service animals. 

Atlas Assistance Dogs, an organization that trains people to be qualified dog trainers, estimates that there are 16,766 assistance dogs in the North America Region. But this number considers service dogs trained by ADI-accredited organizations. It doesn’t consider service dogs trained by their disabled owners. Atlas says it’s difficult to establish an exact number of service dogs in America. For example, ShareAmerica.com estimates about 500,000 service dogs in the US. 

Service dogs also have legal protection from discrimination. The U.S. Fair Housing Act requires homeowners and housing providers to provide reasonable accommodation for service dogs and not to discriminate. Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), airline operators in the US are required to accept service dogs as passengers and transport them on flights to, within, and from the United States. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives service dogs the right to access public areas and facilities. Operators of public facilities are required to admit them and their handlers without discriminating.

Pet ownership is also great for physical fitness. Researchers analyzed 29 studies published between 1990 and 2010, primarily in the United States and Australia. On average, 60% of dog owners walked 160 minutes per week and four times per week, a greater amount and frequency than people in dog-less households.

So while I miss Simba and think about everything I did to help him – expensive dog training and even having a psychic check him out – YES, I did that too; I’m grateful for the time I had with him and for knowing I did what I could to help him. Sharing a home with a pet is not cheap, but many benefits can be gained. 

Here are some more stats about multicultural pet owners 

  • Hispanics have become an especially significant part of the population of pet owners. The number of Latinos owning pets increased 44% from 15 million in 2008 to 22 million in 2018, a growth rate vastly greater than that experienced among non-Hispanic white pet owners.
  • Although a much smaller population, Asian pet owners grew at the same rate (45%) between 2008 and 2018.
  • During the same period, the number of African American pet owners also increased at a healthy rate (24%).
  • The impact of Latinos on dog or cat ownership has been especially pronounced. Over the past decade, the number of Hispanic dog owners increased by 59%. The number of Latino cat owners likewise increased by 50%.
  • The two most popular pets, dogs and cats, live in 39% and 24% of U.S. households, respectively. One in eight homes has other pets — including fish, birds, reptiles, or small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, or gerbils.
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