AFRICANGLOBE – There was a strong spirit of unity earlier this month, when business owners, clergy, media outlets and community leaders gathered at Texas Southern University’s Jesse H. Jones School of Business Auditorium for the historic launch of The Black Dollar Project, a new economic movement, originating from Houston, Texas.
The Black Dollar Project is a one-of-a-kind business initiative created to activate economic empowerment between businesses and consumers within the African-American community in order to promote financial security, wealth building and positive growth.
The initiative was the brainchild of Karen Carter Richards (Houston Forward Times), Kehlin Farooq (Farooq Holdings, LLC) and Jeffrey L. Boney (Texas Business Alliance), who joined forces on this unique and dynamic new business initiative that has been in the works since 2008.
“When African Americans become informed and economically empowered, then we can build within our community and start negotiating from a position of strength,” said Richards.
Founders discussed the rich history of early 20th century Black Wall Street and shared how the spirit of those innovative leaders were the driving force behind their overall vision to see the Black community return to the same position of economic strength and unity they displayed in the midst of tumultuous times.
“Black Wall Street businesses and consumers gave African Americans a successful blueprint that can be followed today,” said Boney. “Although we are living in a different time, we can recreate that culture by connecting Black businesses with Black consumers one dollar at a time.”
The founders emphasized that Black consumers must rid themselves of the “one-chance” and “only chance” mentality when it comes to supporting Black businesses and encouraged attendees to sign up and get engaged.
“If the perception of the Black dollar has no value, then our purchases will have no benefit,” said Farooq. “The Black Dollar Project addresses the immediate need for us to change the way we view the Black dollar and the way we spend it.”
In attendance was civil rights activist Virgil Wood who has committed much of his life’s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s disadvantaged. He also worked closely with the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Five weeks before Dr. King was assassinated, we had a conversation about creating a more solid movement focused on economic development amongst the African-American community,” said Wood. “I am pleased tonight to know that nearly 50 years after his assassination, The Black Dollar Project is being launched and this is the type of initiative we have needed to truly fulfill the dream that Martin shared with us. I am signing up to be a part tonight.”
Irvin Ashford, Jr., Comerica Bank senior vice president encouraged attendees to support the initiative while sharing a powerful story about the lessons he learned from his grandmother and how they apply to an initiative such as this.
“My grandmother taught me to be smart, be wise, be sensible and use the tools that are available to me,” said Ashford. “She also taught me to go after the low hanging fruit because it was often the best. Black businesses oftentimes get overlooked but are the best, and being a part of an initiative like this will help identify those good businesses that are prepared and ready to grow.”
Black businesses participating in this initiative can join in the network at the cost of only $1 per week ($52 per year) and will have a business listing for one full calendar year. Being a part of this branded network gives Black businesses the ability to advertise and selectively target Black consumers in the same way major Fortune 500 companies and other businesses do.
The project has also created a marketing component that allows Black business owners to become a part of a branded network that advertises on their behalf via print, T.V., radio, Internet, email marketing, social media, networking events, educational forums, and gives them increased exposure and an opportunity to reach consumers, primarily African-American consumers, on a far greater scale.
Member will receive The Black Dollar Project decals that will be displayed at their place of business to identify them as a member and supporter. For more information go to www.blackdollarproject.com.