'The push we need to all be equal': Support for black-owned businesses growing amid BLM movement
REGINA -- As the Black Lives Matters movement continues to grow across the world, some people have been calling for more support for black-owned local businesses as a show of solidarity.
“We’re not saying don’t support white businesses,” said Dolapo Fadere with the Black in Sask organization. “We are an inclusive community, and we should be inclusive by how we spend out dollars.”
She said in Saskatchewan, there are several reasons why it’s important to support black-owned businesses.
“On a fundamental basis, it’s economics,” she said. “Black-owned businesses are contributing to the local economy.”
“By supporting black businesses, you’re financially support and closing the wealth gap.”
She said the second reason why people should support black-owned businesses is because black people who have immigrated to Saskatchewan don’t have the network that people who were born and raised here do.
“A huge emphasis is being placed right now on black-owned businesses just to be seen in the spotlight, and for people to be aware that ‘hey, these are the services, these are the goods we provide and this is how we can serve you,’” Fadere said.
She said it also acts as a show of solidarity during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Amy Ripplinger, the owner of Handful Sensory Dough Co. and Congress Wood Co., said she’s seen more support over the past few weeks than any other time since starting her businesses.
“The amount of support we’ve gotten since this has started is unbelievable to me,” Ripplinger said. “It’s validating us and all that we’ve gone through in the past, and kind of pushing us to the forefront or the the start line almost.”
She said for a long time, black-owned businesses have been a few steps back.
“I think this is the push we need to all be equal,” Ripplinger said.
Sade Onasanya, the owner of Heritage Ethnic Market, said it’s empowering to see people in the community stepping up.
“I’m really happy that this is coming forth,” she said. “We really need to be visible in the community.”
She said she would like to see every local business supported to create variety and cultural diversity in Regina.
“It’s not about black, white, green or yellow - it’s about the individuals here,” she said. “We need to support one another in order for us to grow.”
Several websites have been created that list black-owned businesses in Saskatchewan and an Instagram page called @AfroSask has been formed to highlight African/Caribbean-owned companies in the province.