The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities
by MICHAEL PARAGON
While I was living in Atlanta, I had heard of a family up north that was devoting an entire year to buying all of their families needs from only Black-owned businesses! Not from only Black cashiers or Black waiters, etc. but, Black-owned tailors, grocers, hair & nail salons, you name it! It sounds like quite a challenge and I had genuine doubts that it could ever be done…until I met the Andersons in person!
As John and Maggie Anderson spoke of the obstacles that they had to overcome, such as driving nearly 20 miles to find a Black-owned grocery store, it became very obvious that this was no mere whim. There was a point to be proven, a principle to aspire to, there was substance behind the intention. It was as though Marcus Garvey had been coaching and guiding this family, promoting them to greater audiences to insure that the message would ring loud and clear: “if we can do it, you can do it too!”
At the time, I had no real idea that this was a principle of Kwanzaa being played out before my very eyes. I was also unaware of how dramatic an impact something as simple as spending my money within my community could be. But it’s really pretty evident if you just look around you with a different perspective: the Asian community thrives by supplying those who live there with what they consume and use. The same can be said of nearly any other racial or ethnic group that exists in any degree of density – from Mennonite to Muslim, Jamaican to Jewish. But, within the Black community, we’re more apt to spend our monies at the nearest Wal-Mart, Sweetbay or Albertson’s before going to Sarah’s Boutique or the Orange Grocery store for the same items. And that’s what keeps our neighborhoods in the same run-down state as they’ve been over the years. Store owners simply don’t have the financial ability to make needed improvements and grow in pace with the competition because we’re giving our money to the other teams!
The Kwanzaa principle of Ujamaa falls right in line to oppose this practice. If no one else will support us – who will? Click the link below to find out more about the Andersons, the Empowerment Experiment and how you too can live an Ujamaa Lifestyle!