Breast cancer survivor Mechelle Williams discusses her journey after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., there are three types of receptors that stimulate breast cancer growth. These receptor types are estrogen, progesterone and HER-2. When an individual test negative for the aforementioned receptor types, this means that the common forms of treatment, such as drugs or hormone therapy, will be unsuccessful in the attempt to treat and eliminate triple negative breast cancer. However, chemotherapy has been used as an option to confront and tackle this form of cancer.
Williams discusses the first signs that alerted her that something was wrong and the steps she decided to take after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She bares her initial fears and concerns after receiving her biopsy results and talks about her ability to find beauty through chemotherapy.
On Saturday, October 10, 2015, the Nation of Islam, led by Minister Louis Farrakhan, hosted the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, DC. The rally, entitled “Justice or Else”, took place on the grounds of The National Mall on the steps of the United States Capital. The march drew hundreds of thousands of supporters and activists displaying signs and posters that read “Black Lives Matter”, “Stop Racism Now”, “Justice or Else” and “I Am Not a Thug”.
The program included speeches from community leaders, ministers and civil rights advocates. Farrakhan was the final speaker to take the stage and he addressed issues and matters that plague the African American community, as well as voiced his frustrations with political leaders, the educational system, and what he refers to as “rogue” police.
Minister Farrakhan criticized the United States government on their betrayal of indigenous people, black people, soldiers and the poor. “You play with the lives of poor people, indigenous people, black people, women”, said Farrakhan. “You’ve played with the lives of soldiers, who have given their lives on a foreign battlefield only to come home and be rejected and die while they’re waiting for treatment and service.”
Farrakhan went on to address the issue of human rights in America. He criticized President Obama for his remarks on human rights in a joint press conference with President Xi of China, regarding human rights in China. In the press conference, President Obama expressed, “I again affirmed America’s unwavering support for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, including freedom of assembly and expression, freedom of the press and freedom of religion”, said Obama. “…and denying ethnic minorities equal treatment are all problematic, in our view, and actually prevent China and its people from realizing its full potential.” Farrakhan rebuked President Obama’s remarks regarding human rights and China and suggested that the President deal with the human rights issue in America. “I think, Mr. President, we ought to be quiet telling China, you got to straighten out your human rights…as though you don’t have no problem in America, these are problems here and these problems demand resolution and America don’t have the heart to do it.”
Farrakhan also discussed the state of the black community and the importance of blacks taking back their community. He tackled the issue of violence in urban communities and the matter of police killings in black neighborhoods. “We have to go into our community because our war is on two fronts, we got to stop the killing in the inner city and stop the killing of us from police wickedness.” There have been a number of police shootings involving unarmed black men, black Americans dying in police custody and civilians shooting and murdering black youths in the community. These deaths have triggered a global outcry that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
There has also been a concern over the issue of corrupt officers working on the police force, specifically those working in predominantly African American neighborhoods. For instance, the shooting death of Walter Scott, by then officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Scott during a routine traffic stop. Slager claimed that he and Scott got into a scuffle and Scott attempted to grab his taser, which justified him shooting Scott eight times in the back. However, video footage taken by an eye witness contradicted Slager’s claims and showed Scott running away from the officer and Slager shooting him to death.
During Farrakhan’s speech, he spoke about deceitful police officers working in black communities, specifically officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Farrakhan referred to such officers as “rogue” police and quoted Wilson from a previous interview, in which he stated that he has more fun working in the black community. “What’s fun about your work in the black community…see you profit from the drugs that’s going on, you profit from the prostitution, you profit from the drug trade, you do”, said Farrakhan. “You kill us and blame it on another gang, that’s the fun, but your days of having fun on our suffering is about to come to an end.” Wilson made similar claims as former Officer Michael Slager, claiming that he was in a struggle with Mike Brown right before the shooting. Wilson, however, was not indicted for the shooting death of Mike Brown.
Farrakhan ended his speech offering several solutions that he feels will help solve the problems that oppress the black community. Combined with rebuilding the black community, Farrakhan proposes that African Americans have to get out from under the educational system in the United States, which he feels is polluted with white supremacy. “We have to clean up our community and there’s no way we can make a good people and leave them under the educational system of white supremacy”, said Farrakhan. “We have to take over the educational system, cause the education that you’re receiving has not made you a good people or a better people, it made you a more willing tool or slave for your oppressor, that systems has to go in order for black people to be set free.” The black spending power in America was another topic on Farrakhan’s list for improving the African American community. Farrakhan discussed the trillion dollar buying power in the black community and reported that blacks spend over half their income during Christmas time. “Did you know that we spend almost half of the money that we take in in a year during Christmas. We have $1.1 to $1.3 trillion dollars and $400 billion of it is spent during the Christmas holidays.” Farrakhan recommended that black America take those funds that are spent during Christmas and invest those resources to purchase land and property.
In the 2014 State of Black America report, the essay, Facts vs. Fiction: Buying Black As An Economic Strategy, revealed that out of the trillions that African Americans spend annually on goods and services, only 3 percent of that amount is used to support Black-owned businesses and firms.
Wekesa Madzimoyo, the founder of The AYA Institute, discusses the history of African Americans as business owners. “I’m sad that we finance our own oppression and also understanding why we do it, how we got to be where we do it, and what’s needed for us to no longer do it,” said Madzimoyo.
In a previous article, Madzimoyo explained the tactics that were used in order to discourage African Americans from starting and supporting Black-owned establishments. Madzimoyo gives an example as to how and why this issue occurs within the African American community today.
The Fade-A-Way Cutz Barber Shop & Salon is spearheading the Fade2Success initiative in which they’re encouraging individuals in the community to donate school supplies for the upcoming 2014 – 2015 school year. The goal is to provide these materials to the children of the Boys and Girls Center of Hope at Thomasville. If you would like to support the Fade2Success initiative you may do so by sending or bringing supplies to two locations: Fade-A-Way Cutz Barber Shop and Salon, 1120 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. #3, Atlanta, GA 30310 and The Good Hair Shop, 2001 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30310. Let’s support our communities children in going back to school!
What if your smartphone could help you give back and buy Black? The Around The Way app is a free app designed to help you locate Black-owned businesses in your community. The idea for the app came from a young woman by the name of Janine Hausif. In an interview with BET, Hausif discussed her desire for African Americans to succeed by supporting Black communities and businesses.
The Around The Way app allows users to locate Black-owned businesses by using their smartphone’s GPS location. The app also allows users to set their cities location in the settings menu, and from there individuals are able to view a list of businesses in their area. The selection of businesses range from
Banks, ATMs, Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Barber Shops, and Health and Wellness just to name a few.
According to Nielsen, consumers are spending more time using their smartphones, with an average monthly time of 34 hours and 21 minutes per user. Among those consumers, African Americans ages 18 to 34 spend the most time using their smartphones, with individuals from ages 25 to 34 leading with 53 percent.
While you are surfing the web on your smartphones, download the Around The Way app so you can help support and give back to the Black companies in your community.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there has been a significant increase in the number of Black-owned businesses at triple the national rate. These numbers were gathered from the, Survey of Business Owners, which is conducted every five years. Although Black-owned businesses have increased in the United States, the amount of receipts generated by these businesses has declined. In Jim Clingman’s article, The Mythical Black Economy, he found that the average gross receipts for Black-owned businesses decreased by 3 percent, from $74,000 per firm in 2002 to $72,000 per firm in 2007.
It is important to address the issue regarding the lack of support for Black businesses in the United States. In a recent survey, Supporting Black Owned Businesses, the results show that roughly 33 percent of the respondents are aware of the Black-owned businesses within their community. Results further show that, individuals seldom patronized at Black establishments. Also, when asked about their shopping experiences with Black businesses, most respondents chose that they occasionally receive superb customer service and feel as though the products or goods that are offered are rarely priced fairly. Outcomes from the survey also show that nearly all respondents do not feel obligated to support Black businesses if the customer service is substandard. However, 100 percent of the respondents reported that it is very important for African Americans to support Black-owned businesses.
Below, Representative Joyce Beatty discusses the importance of entrepreneurship within the Black community and the need of support for small businesses and minority-owned businesses.
According to Nielsen, statistics have shown that African Americans are the number one consumers in the United States, spending more than $1 trillion dollars a year on goods and services. A small amount of those funds are used to support Black-owned businesses. In the 2014 State of Black America Report, the article, Facts vs. Fiction: Buying Black As An Economic Strategy, revealed that the black dollar only last six hours in its community before going out into the world. In other communities, Asian, White, and Hispanic, their dollar lasts in their community 7 to 28 days before it goes out into the world. This means that African Americans spend their monies outside of their community with non Black-owned businesses, thus not supporting or empowering their community.
After conducting a questionnaire that concerned African Americans patronizing with black businesses, the results showed that the top three reasons many Blacks have issues with buying black are:
1) Customer Service: Many respondents feel that the owners and or employees are not welcoming or attentive to customers.
2) Availability of Products/Goods: Some respondents feel that the products and or goods that they are seeking are not always offered or available, causing them to shop with that business only once.
3) Prices/Over Charging: Respondents expressed that in some cases the products or goods were overpriced, forcing them to shop elsewhere where they felt the products were affordable.
In order to address these issues and concerns within the African American community, it is important to first confront the root of the problem. The survey below, Supporting Black-Owned Businesses, is designed to ask questions that may help Black business owners understand the consumer’s frustrations and hopefully find ways to fulfill their needs and desires.
Kathy Martin is an African American entrepreneur and real estate tycoon that has served the Atlanta community for the past 20 years, operating as an investor. Martin is CEO of Real Estate Solutions, LLC, and has multiple real estate companies that specialize in different aspects of the real estate industry. “I have several businesses…I have a property management company, I have a company that just buys the houses, and I have a company that rehabs the houses,” explains Martin. Currently, Martin’s workforce of employees is greater than 90% minority.
According to Timothy Bates’ article, The Urban Development Potential of Black-Owned Businesses, many African American-owned firms have difficulty gaining access to financial capital when trying to start or maintain their business. Bates list three reasons as to why Black-owned businesses have difficulty:
1) There is a greater chance that Black-owned businesses will have their bank loans denied, even if they’re equally qualified with White applicants.
2) If African American business owners are approved for a business loan, they usually receive a smaller amount of funds compared to non-minority business owners.
3) Black businesses tend to rely on credit cards in order to start and form their businesses.
Martin is the exception to these statistics. She is one of the few women in real estate that operates as an investor, using her own funds to lend, purchase and refurbish properties. “I noticed that there wasn’t really any African American women being real investors, where they actually had their own money to go into the community, rehabbing them and making a difference in African American lives,” says Martin. She explains how she witnessed individuals conduct biased real estate business in the Black communities, while taking advantage of African Americans and their communities, which led Martin to go into these Black communities to make a difference.
Martin discusses the importance of supporting African American communities and businesses. She explains that her number one consumer is the African American community and that she puts the money back into the community. She suggests three things that the Black community has to have in order to be successful: integrity, self-esteem, and customer service. “I think there are three issues, the first one is definitely integrity in our own community. The other one is self-esteem, we always want to fit-in, I don’t know why, we have so much going for us,” says Martin, “and we lost customer service. If you think about those three things, that’s the reason why you have picked someone over somebody else, to buy something or to do business with.”
Martin discusses her thoughts on African Americans as the number one consumers, spending a $1 trillion dollars a year on goods and services.
Human trafficking is the forcing of individuals into sexual labor for the purpose of monetary gain. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a federally funded study has named Atlanta the nation’s leader for sex trafficking, with traffickers generating an estimated $33,000 per week.
In a 2012 study performed by the International Labour Organization, nearly 21 million adults and children are purchased and traded within the human trafficking industry. Of these 21 million, 40.4% of these victims are African American, 25.6% are Caucasian and 23.9% are Hispanic.
Jeff Shaw is a community leader who has devoted his time and effort into combating the issue of sex trafficking in the Atlanta area. Shaw partnered with the Atlanta Dream Center and formed his own ministry, Out of Darkness. This organization focuses on rescuing men, women, and children who have become victims of the sex industry. Shaw discusses the goals and efforts Out of Darkness offers within the community of Atlanta.