Community Commentary/Opinion
On occasion, Charlottesville Tomorrow will publish opinion pieces by members of our community. At this time, we can acknowledge receipt and inform you whether a period for accepting them for publication is open. Letters must include the writer's full name. Anonymous opinions and those signed with pseudonyms will not be considered. Commentary should be submitted within one week of a story's publication. For verification, opinions and commentary also must include the writer's contact information. Writers should disclose personal or financial interest in topics addressed. Pieces are edited for clarity and fact checked. Writers and/or organizations may only submit one piece over a 30-day period. For more information, or to submit a letter to the editor, contact News Editor Elliott Robinson at erobinson@cvilletomorrow.org.

Under the shadow of a life-altering pandemic, the Minority Business Alliance launched an application process in April for its members to apply for funding to support their businesses’ operational costs such as rent, payroll, supplies, etc. Further darkened by yet another public annihilation of an African American life in May, the shadow of a more insidious virus dims and tempers our efforts to share a semblance of good news, while we look for a semblance of justice in Minneapolis and across the nation.

Words like “fury” and “outrage” to “disdain” and “despair” understate the dichotomy of our emotions right now. Yet, with heavy hearts and fatigued spirits, we are compelled to congratulate, celebrate and recognize some of our community’s most valued, minority-owned businesses. Culinary Concepts AB, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Lifeview Marketing & Visuals, and Pearl Island Café & Catering each received $1,000 from MBA to support their respective efforts.

While the soul of our nation is at stake, we must endure. As entrepreneurs and community members of color, we find it imperative to press forward — through and beyond the muck and mire of dehumanization, which perpetuates racial inequity, exploitation and economic exclusion. Despite the perennial spikes of crisis, we continue pushing for our version of “business as usual.” MBA’s version is persevering to execute our mission to convene, support and promote minority business professionals with the help of our community partners to expand community wealth building. Business as usual is pushing towards our vision of a city and region of thriving minority businesses and professionals.

At this tipping point in our history, we not only send prayers up for the family of George Floyd, but to all the families, communities and people of color who have suffered senseless losses at the hand of the agents of an oppressive system which has mastered the art of dehumanization. And to our entire community, we must reconcile our books and change the structure. We must balance the books of charity with more significant investment in wealth creation for African Americans, we must banish the aspersions of “reverse racism” when people of color organize to strengthen their own interests, we must stop watering down Black interests in the name of diversity, we must stop professing “collective” values and operating with “individualistic” drivers. The list can go on, but most importantly, please note the dehumanization, which lies at the core of the virus of white supremacy, not only marks those of us whose humanity is stolen, but also those who have stolen it.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, let us endure the challenges at hand and implement solutions that create value and thereby, wealth for the African American community. Let us attack these challenges authentically together, lest we perish together. The Minority Business Alliance launched the Minority Endurance Fund as an investment into our minority business community and we ask our broader community to help us innovate in the same spirit for returns that create a new measure of wealth that benefits us all.

With our ancestors’ resilience,

 

Quinton Harrell

Local volunteer, entrepreneur, chairman — Minority Business Alliance

@minoritybizallianceMBA