- Supporting Black owned business who are building our economic base
Juneteenth (June 19) is the date we commemorate the days when the last of enslaved African Americans learned the Emancipation Proclamation had outlawed slavery. The past 400 years have been an ongoing demonstration of the moral flexibility necessary to establish, codify and perpetuate race-based slavery and the difficulty in unbending that which was always more broken than flexible.
Juneteenth came 246 years after Africans were first sold in what would become Virginia and the 155 years since the Emancipation Proclamation have been a continued demonstration of the deep roots and systemic nature of racism.
Over the last century and a half, we have seen moves to heal, to right that which was always more broken than flexible. There have been moments. Moments when the elders beamed at the progress we’d made. There have also been moments when all of us shook our heads not believing what we were reading or watching. Knowing but somehow not quite understanding how difficult it is to right that which was always more broken than flexible.
And so, when the pandemic came, some discovered what some already knew – it is impossible to ingest 400 years or 246 years or 155 years of something loud and unspeakable and not be obviously or quietly sick. It is impossible to not have health disparities after years of swallowing something so loud and unspeakably evil.
And so, when the loud and unspeakable happened again, during the pandemic, it washed over all of us. Trauma and triggers on a loop. The figurative 400 years of knees on necks, now literally one knee on one neck, played and re-played on a loop. The moral flexibility necessary to establish, codify and perpetuate racism, suddenly didn’t feel as flexible. Suddenly, for some, the time had come to face the difficulty in unbending that which was always more broken than flexible.
In this moment, a long view of history is required. While we are a business advocacy, membership organization, we understand the moral flexibility necessary to establish, codify and perpetuate racism seeps into every aspect of our lives. It impacts how we learn and how we earn. It impacts our capacity to thrive or simply survive.
There are many fronts from which to fight that which was always more broken than not. Supporting Black owned business who are building our economic base, is the front from which we fight. This moment feels different. But the importance of building a strong economic base remains. It starts with us.
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