August is National Black Business Month. This effort was started and co-founded by John William Templeton and Frederick E. Jordan, both entrepreneurs. The goal is to put a spotlight on Black-owned businesses and support them by patronizing them and celebrating diversity and equity in our country. We should not have to delegate a specific month to encourage people to shop and hire Black businesses, but it appears that if we do not make a special effort to do so, then many Black-owned businesses, especially small ones can be overlooked. Black-owned companies are critical to not only our communities but also to the overall economy. Many workers are hired by and dependent on Black-owned businesses.
A friend, mentor, advocate, and beacon of light for Black businesses and Black business owners in Southern California has been Earl “Skip” Cooper. For close to a half-century, he has been a rainmaker to help Black businesses not only survive but also thrive. Mr. Cooper recently retired, and the Black Business Association of Los Angeles (BBALA) and the community will come together to honor and pay tribute to him for his service, sacrifice, and commitment to making sure that Black businesses were not left behind. When Skip Cooper moved to Los Angeles from Northern California he saw Black businesses were being left out, under-served, and settling for less than what they deserved and he wanted to step up and see what he could do to make a difference.
On August 20th many in the city of Los Angeles will celebrate Earl “Skip” Cooper II Day. It is important that we recognize people like Skip who came before us and paved the way so that others could open and operate businesses and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. They did what they had to do yesterday so that we can do what we want to do today. According to the Census Bureau, we have over 134,567 Black-owned businesses in our country with $133.7 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees, and about $40.5 billion in annual payroll, but far too many still struggle to stay in business. It is said that the dollar only circulates one time in the Black community. This ratio is far less than any other community in our nation. We can help make a difference with these odds if we all serve as “rainmakers” and help keep Black businesses open by making a conscious effort to patronage their goods and services. By supporting Black-owned businesses we can begin to close the racial wealth gap. Black business ownership is one of the best ways to create generational wealth.
During the pandemic there was some targeted assistance to help small businesses, unfortunately, minority businesses still suffered at a higher rate. For those that were able to keep their doors open let us continue to help support them. We also need to think about how we pass the baton to the next generation of Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Black Business Association of Los Angeles (BBALA) is doing just that. Skip Cooper has passed the baton over to Sarah Harris as the new president. To learn how you can participate or support them visit their website at www.bbala.org. #bbashopsblack
Cyril Ramaphosa said, “No action is too small when it comes to changing the world…I am inspired every time I meet an entrepreneur who is succeeding against all odds.” Together we can do this.
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