Black Lives Matter

A couple of weeks ago, I took a good hard look at the businesses I follow, the businesses I offer support to, and the places where I spend my money.  I noticed a real lack of diversity.

It’s something that I should have taken note of before now, but I believe it is never too late to make change for good, and that’s always what we’ve done here at the 304 Collective: we work to be better, each and every day.

In addition to providing our shared studio space and creating video content for small businesses, I have been the leader of our Morgantown Rising Tide Society chapter.  I’m passionate about sharing resources and fostering community among area small businesses and creatives.  But when I took a good look at how I’m doing that, it became real clear that I had not been putting in the work to connect with everyone in equal measure.

Black Businesses Matter

Even worse, I’m not the only business or leader in the state of WV with this deficit.  When I started intentionally looking for black owned businesses to follow and support, it was a struggle. Black owned businesses in WV are not receiving the same representation and support, Black owned creative businesses even more so.

WV needs to be a state where Black Lives Matter.  Where every citizen can live with the same safety and freedom that my family and I do.  It also needs to be a state where Black Businesses Matter; where every citizen has the same ability to chase these wild dreams of starting their own businesses, creating a profession around their arts and talents. A lot of things need to happen to make that a reality, and I want to do my part to make it happen; with my vote, with my community involvement, with my wallet, and with my business.

I spent a few very conflicted days trying to learn and decide how I could be most helpful in highlighting and sharing resources with Black business owners throughout the state of WV.  Then I came upon a post by another local small business owner, LaToya Jones. She was moving toward creating a magazine to highlight Black owned businesses here in the state, and I was overjoyed to be able to give support to the startup!

LaToya owns a local skincare company, As It Should Be.   She is full of energy, has a ton of great ideas for both her small business and how she can serve others here in WV.  She took this idea, and made it into a reality in just a few short weeks.  Black Business Now launched their website on Juneteenth!

I hope you will all join with me in supporting Black Business Now.  It’s a great site that will work to not only building up Black business owners and leaders within our state, but in providing the kind of representation that has been missing, will help our “Y’all” truly mean ALL.

As a reminder, you can support a business in so many ways above and beyond just shopping there.  If you can not afford their products or services, or they do not apply to you, please find ways to support these local businesses in other ways.  Follow along on their social media accounts, and ENGAGE with them there.  Like, comment, and share what they’re doing.  Leave good reviews when you have a good experience.  Recommend them to others, both in person and in community ISO posts.

If you find a business on this site that you just LOVE, share it with me!  Also, if you know of a Black owned business here in the state, please share the link to help them get connected.