Black-owned businesses ask for support
As protesters here in Mid-Michigan and around the country call for change over George Floyd's death, the Black Business Alliance of Greater Lansing is working to find more ways how people can have their voices be heard.
The Alliance says to leave a long-term impact on the black community, the public needs to change how they spend and invest, specifically with black-owned businesses, that need it now more than ever.
"It has been extremely challenging," says Walter Crockett, owner of Mind Body Symmetry.
Walter says their gym building has been closed to the public since March.
"It's been a big impact on my businesses," added Micky Love, the owner of Mickey's Catering, who has had to literally "cater" to the state's restrictions on food, while helping feed the community who are struggling to find their next meal.
"We took a financial hit," said Reshane Lonzo, Owner DMR International Learning Center, who has had to cancel several courses and rework how to teach virtually.
"It's hard," said Tammara Mccollum, owner of Smoothie Queen, "Even though the delivery part of my business is doing well, it is definitely a learning curve to start a new business as a black woman."
These are just some of the dozens of the black-owned businesses in the Greater Lansing area, that either is feeling financially, mentally, or physically hit by the pandemic on top of the unrest following the death of George Floyd.
"We see the impact of the virus that is disproportionate on the African American community," Dr. Alane Laws-Barker, President of Black Business Alliance of Greater Lansing. "Plus not all businesses can afford to go out and buy the PPE so I am concerned as a leader about what the future looks like for us reopening and I know that losing black businesses is not an option."
That's why the Black Business Alliance of Greater Lansing is urging the community to bring change from both the protests to the local economy.
"It really gives power, it helps disperse the message even further because now you have people researching, looking up these businesses, and really getting your message and efforts out there," said Michaela Barker, owner of Melanin in Medicine.
That is why the Black Business Alliance of Greater Lansing with the help of Melanin in Medicine and Sock it to Sickness recently created a black-owned business directory that ranges from food companies...to health care...to janitorial work to gyms...and more.
Although some of these services can't completely open yet due to the phased reopening of the state, organizers say there are other ways you support the businesses.
"If you don't have the ability to buy things or to donate, you can always spread the word, sharing a website, Facebook or Instagram page," said Michaela Barker
"This gives us the opportunity to show other people what can be done," said Walter Crockett. "That is the message we want to spread. Our dreams matter, the people matter and that you supporting those dreams show that you stand with us"
You can find the growing list of black-owned businesses in the Lansing area,