As protests continue across the country, many Americans are looking for ways to help support the Black Lives Matter movement any way they can.
While protesting and calling your local officials are valid approaches to fighting racial inequality, it's equally as important to put your money where your mouth is. Are you even aware of the black owned businesses in your area? Have you supported them recently? It's more important than ever to support black entrepreneurs, so to aid in your search, we've compiled a list of apps that make it easier than ever to discover local, black-owned businesses.
Launched in 2018 by Rameish Budhoo, Black Nation is a thorough database that lists black-owned businesses free of charge. The app makes it easy to find a company that matches your needs as a consumer to create both local and national visibility for POC entrepreneurs. Log on and search for whatever you need, and it will link you to dozens of businesses in your area that meet your guidelines.
Black-owned restaurants have been hit especially hard thanks to the current pandemic, but eatOkra aims to help. Founded in 2016 by Anthony Edwards and Janique Bradley, eatOkra is the go-to directory for black-owned restaurants. It features over 2,500 restaurants across the U.S. Just put in your location and search your desired cuisine, and the app will match you with dozens of results. You can even order delivery, and the app includes GPS directions in case you need to hop in a car. Personal recommendations for additions to eatOkra are also encouraged.
Official Black Wall Street
Official Black Wall Street offers over 5,000 black-owned businesses across 10 different countries, making it the most extensive directory app for businesses by people of color. Black business owners create a listing through the app, and consumers can leave reviews, and access photos and exclusive offers through Official Black Wall Street. Started in 2014, the app was developed to help consumers invest more in black-owned businesses, as it says on their website: "only 2% of [Black Americans] $1.1 trillion buying power is invested into black businesses."
Explicitly curated for Brooklyn, Black-Owned Brooklyn is exactly what it sounds like. It's a digital publication that offers great resources for New Yorkers wishing to support black businesses. The publication includes write-ups for featured companies in food and drink, home and design, style and beauty, health and wellness, and even history and culture. It also updates regularly with new additions, and seeks to focus on businesses not part of the gentrified suburb, but rather businesses that have been in place for years.
WhereU Came From
Using crowd-sourced listings and referrals, 2016's WhereU Came From is an app designed to help you discover local black-owned businesses. Both an app and a website, WhereU Came From offers in-depth search functionalities that project real-time leaderboards of companies across categories and are ranked by customers and peers who have used the services.
With everyone's Instagram feeds flooding with endless places to donate, there have been a slew of chances to help BLM non-profits that desperately need it.
However, choosing a place of donation at random is never a good call. There are plenty of scams floating around online, so make sure the charity of your choosing is still accepting donations and that you've found their official account. Places like the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and the Minnesota Freedom Fund, for example, have received an overwhelming number of donations, and they are providing a list of alternative places to donate. As we all look for ways to help, here's a selection of charities where your donations will actually make a difference.
Labeled as an "unprecedented effort" to combat mass incarceration, The Bail Project pays bails for those who need it and aims to reunite families and restore the "presumption of innocence" for incarcerated people. All donations go directly towards paying bails and helping to fight for this cause.
Offering a fantastic crisis hotline to help victims report abuse, the Communities United Against Police Brutality offers legal, psychological, and medical resources to victims, and helps callers fight back against police violence.
SURJ's main initiative is education. It seeks to dismantle and re-educate white people who want to tackle their inner racism. The multi-racial movement is always looking for donations and applications.
BVC is an organization focused on self-love and empowering people of color. "We need to integrate healing justice into all that we do," a statement reads on their website. "We are insisting on conditions that can carry us towards the next generation of work, and towards a deeper place of freedom for all of us."
The NYC-based collective aims to keep New York from allowing the construction of new jails. The aim is to divert funds to helping with housing, mental health, and other means of support for dismantled communities.
Founded by Colin Kaepernick, the Know Your Rights Camp educates and trains communities of color to help them learn their legal rights. The organization even set up a legal fund for Minneapolis protestors.
MOODI stands for Mobile Outreach and Outdoor Drop-In. Developed as an initiative in Minneapolis, the organization provides immediate relief for those without shelter.
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