In 2021, President Biden signed legislation marking June 19th as a federal holiday. While a day off is always appreciated, we ask our fellow Drifters and the community at large to lean into the significance of Juneteenth and what it continues to symbolize.
For those of you familiar with US history, you’ve probably heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. Issued in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln at the conclusion of the Civil War, the Proclamation signified that enslaved African Americans were free.
While the Proclamation came into effect on January 1st, it would take another 900 days for that news to reach enslaved African Americans in the South. When it finally did in 1865, hundreds of thousands of African Americans embraced their rightful freedom, marking the first celebration of Juneteenth.
As we sit here over 150 years later, it’s important to acknowledge that there’s still much to be desired in the way of access to equity and opportunity. Here are some stats to put things in perspective:
- The median net worth of white families in the US is $188,200 — 7.8 times that of their Black peers at $24,100. That wealth gap translates to other disparities, including business ownership, which is heavily influenced by individual and family wealth.
- Only 2.3% of businesses are Black-owned, even though Black people make up 14.2% of the country’s population.
- 79% of Black business owners say they’ve experienced racism from a customer — with 48% reporting they had a racist customer interaction at least once in the past year.
- 57% of Black business owners were denied a bank loan at least once when they started their businesses, compared to 37% of non-Black business owners.
While change may not happen overnight, never underestimate the impact that you can make today.
Think about where you spend your dollars. When was the last time you supported a Black-owned business? Are you even aware of one in your local community?
We challenge you to walk the walk by supporting a Black-owned business today, especially if there’s one in your local area. If you’re happy with your experience, leave them a positive review, share the business with your friends and family, and make purchasing from them a part of your routine.
Remember: What you do today can make a difference, and, collectively, our actions will help make the impact we need.
Found a business you want to share with others? Comment on our social media posts with your experience, and nominate them to win a free Drift account here!