Recent events in Pittsburgh have residents ‘Buying Black’

READY TO PURCHASE—Pastors John and Cynthia Wallace of Bible Center Church, are ready to purchase from artistic vender Taylor Faith Leeper. They are the organizers of the Pop-Up Mall.

Holidays the perfect time for Black business owners to display their products

The past few weeks have been saturated with insightful activities and events. From business expos, Small Business Saturday events to an author’s event, they have provided an opportunity for those to “Buy Black.”
“I have noticed a resurgence of Blacks buying Black around the country,” said Rashad Byrdsong, executive director of Community Empowerment Association. “Because we have been excluded from the system for so long, it seems like people are now realizing that it is necessary to keep our money within our communities.” CEA has been focused on its mission of creating spaces of empowerment, education, and fellowship that reconstruct and fortify the cultural foundation of the Black family. Additionally, by consistently generating jobs and economic sustainability, CEA serves as an institutional foundation for the strengthening of Black communities.

VENDING WITH A PURPOSE—Homewood resident and Savannah College of Art and Design student Alexis Coleman, vending during the Homewood Small Business Expo. “Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone else’s disbelief,” Coleman said.

CEA’s strategy to bring Black businesses together is to continue sponsoring the Black Saturday Holiday Market Place, as they did for the 2017 Small Business Saturday. The next event is scheduled for Dec. 16. “We need spaces where businesses can display and sell their wares regularly and an infrastructure in place like a small business incubator,” said Byrdsong. “We have to jumpstart an economic movement and that comes with us working together and trusting one another. We have to leverage people’s economic influences, think big and come up with a plan.”
Ralph P. Watson of Classic Events feels that businesses and organizations should work together, as well. “I’d like to see one big Small Business Saturday Expo in the Black community next year so venders don’t feel they are spread too thin and have to have an allegiance to one organization,” he said. Known for his phrase, “Increasing your network…increases your net worth,” Watson serves as an advocate for small business development and provides a platform for entrepreneurs and organizations to gain access and exposure to a variety of decision-makers and civic leaders. His Holiday Vendor Showcase event held at the Hosanna House, Nov. 25, provided exposure to over 25 vendors selling a variety of items. State Rep. Ed Ganey played the role of Santa Claus and distributed raffle items to patrons. The next Classic Events affair, according to Watson is the Black History Celebration Dinner at the Hosanna House, Feb. 24, 2018.

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