Supporting Black Futures and Black History Month
29 Practical Ways to Support Black History Month Through Economic Empowerment
As we celebrate the proud, beautiful and diverse greatness that makes up the Black community during Black History Month, it’s important to not only reflect on the past but crucial to take tangible actions that uplift and empower the Black community economically. One amazing way to do this is by actively supporting Black businesses, culture, and growth.
Often times people ask the question, how can I help during Black History Month (why not all) and also far too often, I can’t find Black Businesses that do X, Y, or Z. Frankly, the last one is appalling but I choose to take it as both a plea for help and and as an opportunity for discovery to solve a problem by flipping the question – “are there Black businesses that do X, Y and Z?” and if not that’s your answer. Go Fund that, make it happen!
We stumbled across our own discovery in 2022, the phrase “How to grow a Black business?” had a 0% search rate. Zero. How uncommon is that? You know who I asked, AI of course:
The implications of this were just horrific across both ways of viewing it. No one was searching for it and didn’t that mean that no one was focused on building or supporting it? You can find a whole 10 entries as of today and a few of them are my own that I created to spread awareness. Looking at that differently, “how to grow a cat” has just under 1M. 🤦🏽♀️Anyway. Change takes time but it starts with awareness. With that being said here are:
29+ practical ways you can actively support Black business, culture, and growth
Support Black Owned Businesses – WE ARE HERE! Black owned businesses are literally run by Black entrepreneurs in various sectors. They are people in need of your dollars that do a dern good job at what they do but may do even better with you, your platform, resources and patronage. Just type in ‘search term + Black Owned Business’ and review your results, scrolling down the page a bit shows the Google listing (similar to searching for a restaurant!).
Donate to Black organizations: Contribute financially to non-profits and community initiatives focused on economic empowerment within the Black community. You can find them the exact same way as mentioned in item #1.
- Collaborate with Black Owned Entities: Seek opportunities to collaborate with Black-owned businesses on projects, partnerships, or joint ventures and especially federal opportunities.
- Support Black Artists: Purchase artwork, music, literature, and other creative works from Black artists and creators. This goes for NFTs and other digital art too, that’s not a new message from me, I’m just not saying it on Twitter this time. Try the hashtags #BlackArt #BlackArtists #BlackCreator #BlackPublisher on any given platform. [I’m also a Digital Artist, if you like my creations I can create for you or teach you how -> https://technikole.com]
Attend Black Owned/Operated events: Participate in events, markets, and festivals organized by Black-owned businesses to show your support and appreciation. Go for the paid version! You can find numerous events geared toward the culture in your area on Eventnoire
- Mentorship: Mentor aspiring Black entrepreneurs or professionals in your field to provide guidance and support for their career or business endeavors, most importantly on this one, do not make accessibility to receiving this mentorship hard or out of ordinary, difficult. Why – because this type of exclusivity is not helpful to those who actually need it but cannot spare the bandwidth because of “life”.
- Advocate for diversity: Advocate for increased representation of Black voices and perspectives in your workplace, industry, or community. This isn’t hard. We aren’t there yet where this is not an issue.
- Educational support: Support programs and initiatives that provide educational opportunities, scholarships, or resources to Black students and aspiring professionals. This one hits home for me and I’ll tell that tale one day. Just do what it says.
- Invest in Black-owned ventures: Consider investing in Black-owned businesses, startups, or initiatives through crowdfunding, angel investing, or venture capital. Research, then invest. Know that sometimes we look different on paper and your AI is still biased.
- Collaborate with Black-owned media: Partner with Black-owned media outlets, podcasts, or publications to amplify diverse voices and stories. Unless the topic is gossip, sports or fashion…I’m not referring to those. I am referring to every other type of media, podcast or publication out there. #BlackPublisher, #BlackMedia #BlackNetwork #BlackPodcaster #BlackMagazine #BlackVoices etc.
- Promote Black Excellence: Share success stories, achievements, and milestones of Black entrepreneurs and professionals on social media and in your networks. Amplify Black creators, again it takes 2.1 seconds to retweet, like or share. If you can do it for Katt Williams, you can do it for the local creator too.
- Advocate for fair policies: Support policies and legislation that promote economic equity, diversity, and inclusion in all sectors of society. Nuff said.
- Dine at Black-owned restaurants and cafes: Ya’ll know we have some of best food on the planet! support Black-owned eateries and coffee shops in your community to support local businesses and culinary entrepreneurs. But also, hire (qualified) Black Sous, Head and Master Chefs.
Support Black-owned tech initiatives: Contribute to programs, workshops, or organizations that promote tech education, innovation, and entrepreneurship within the Black community. This one isn’t hard either. There a whole bunch of them directed at closing educational gaps including STEM, STEAM, STEEM, AND STEEM programs from youth up through college and even adulthood we have them too.
- Donate tech equipment: Provide gently used tech equipment or resources to organizations or schools serving Black youth and underserved communities. Better yet, buy new and get donation receipts to support your own business at the same time. There is still a world where a $150 VR headset is out of reach for interested creators.
- Attend Black Tech Conferences: Participate in tech conferences, workshops, and events featuring Black speakers, innovators, and thought leaders. Your ticket purchase supports the event, the patrons and the speakers. If you don’t want to go, consider donating the ticket. Most of our major Black tech conferences have donations available. Also if you didn’t know we had these guess what! #WEAREHERE #BITCON #BlacksInTechnology #BlackIsTech
Sponsorship: There are two ways to sponsor. 1 – Formal sponsorship via resources or donation, you align your logo and your essence to a specific event or cause. 2 – Sponsor via purchasing of access for individuals or organizations to attend conferences, workshops, or training programs in your industry or field (refer to #16 and Donate), make the unavailable – available.
- Advocate for diverse panels: We are literally “0” years removed from the “largest” conferences in XYZ industry boasting 70+ speakers and not a single BIPOC or Black guest speaker. This is problematic. Encourage event organizers to prioritize diversity and inclusion when selecting speakers and panelists for conferences and industry events, and not just on topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Ask questions BEFORE buying tickets, look at the speaker roster, especially when speakers are paid to attend and lend their voices which leads me to…
- Offer speaking opportunities: Extend speaking opportunities to Black professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders at events, webinars, and workshops you organize or participate in. Open the door, invite us to register to be speakers, use speaker bureaus to search for diverse candidates and most importantly topics.
- Shop consciously: Make an effort to purchase products and services from Black-owned businesses, both locally and online. This doesn’t have to be just during Black History Month, this is a year round effort of consciousness.
- Mentor Black tech professionals: Provide mentorship and support to Black individuals pursuing careers or ventures in the tech industry.
- Promote Black tech influencers: Amplify the voices and perspectives of Black tech influencers and content creators on social media and in professional networks.
- Collaborate on tech projects: Partner with Black-owned tech startups or entrepreneurs on projects, collaborations, or innovation initiatives.
- Invest in Black tech talent: Invest in training, upskilling, or internship programs that provide opportunities for Black individuals to pursue careers in technology.
- Advocate for inclusive hiring: Advocate for inclusive hiring practices and policies within your organization or industry to promote diversity and representation. I know I always say this but #25 is not about entry level positions, this hiring needs to be where it can make a difference internally and externally. I’m not talking about “giving” positions to anyone. That’s a different animal. I’m referring to really seeking diversity in your upper ranks and being diligent about it.
- Attend diversity workshops: Participate in workshops, training sessions, or discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech sector. They are there, just search for them.
- Donate to tech inclusion programs: Contribute financially to organizations or initiatives that promote diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in technology.
- Sponsor Black-owned tech events: Research and then provide sponsorship or support for events, hackathons, or meetups organized by Black tech communities and organizations. This can mean a world of difference. Even donating the use of a platform, meeting space or resource can create opportunities where there was none.
- Amplify Black voices: Use your platform, influence, and networks to amplify Black voices, perspectives, and achievements in your industry and beyond. This links closely with #22 but also places like LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest. Make it easy for yourself, its where ever you are.
- Bonus 1 – Give Reviews: If you had a positive experience with a Black owned business, consider leaving a review. Why – because it helps and we don’t often ask for it (we should). Takes 3.5 seconds to click a 5-star to post and keep it moving.
- Bonus 2 – Learn about Web3 and how we can change all of this so that we move to whatever is beyond DEI programs and “be”.
By taking these practical steps, you can actively contribute to the economic empowerment and advancement of the Black community during Black History Month and beyond. I’m not a certified DEI yadda yadda, I’m just someone who has a Black Owned Business and comes from a family of Black Entrepreneurs. I am living, breathing Black History, walking everyday (article coming soon). I’ve seen the needs my whole life so when you ask how to change it, I can certainly provide recommendations.
If you would like to donate, sponsor, support or register for anything that I am doing, please do so at https://technikole.com or $TECHNIKOLE (Cashapp). Better yet – I want to be in the same space and get to know you. Maybe you’d like to explore the possibilities of emerging technology with me? I invite you to register for the Meta Mind Shift Mastermind beginning on the February 13th. Change is on its way but we still have a lot of work to do. Together, we can build a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future for all.