Juneteenth 2021: Celebrating Black Women Entrepreneurs
WFWM office will be closed June 18, 2021 in observance of Juneteenth on June 19, 2021.
Celebrated on June 19th, Juneteenth commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States. 2021 marks the 156th Anniversary of the announcement made in Galveston, Texas that the Civil War had ended and African-Americans who were enslaved were emancipated. June is also an important time in African-American history for the massacre that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma from May 31 – June 1, burning down the Greenwood District—also known as Black Wall Street—which was the home to many prosperous Black-owned businesses and killing countless residents.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the elimination of what was known as Black Wall Street. Prompted by George Floyd’s murder last year, many communities used this holiday as a way to garner support for Black-owned businesses. Quickly becoming a Juneteenth tradition, we wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate and support Black women entrepreneurs in our region.
Juneteenth is slowly becoming a nationally recognized holiday. To learn more about Juneteenth and its connection to Black economic empowerment, please check out the following resources:
- The Brookings Institute, This Juneteenth, we should uplift America’s Black businesses
- Forbes, Examining The Funding Challenges For Black-Owned Businesses On Juneteenth
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the national voice of Black business, offers an array of resources on their website including webinars for advancing Black entrepreneurship, a podcast with topics relevant to African-American small business owners, and a grant and loan recovery program.
My Black Receipt encourages consumers to buy from Black-owned businesses and to support Black wealth building. Since its launch last year, over $10 million in receipts from purchases made from Black-owned businesses were uploaded to their website.
Learn about how supporting Black-owned businesses benefits communities and how it is a public good.
For local business owners, the Association of Black Business Professionals is hosting an upcoming virtual workshop, Business Nuts and Bolts for the Entrepreneur, on June 26, 2021. For more information, please visit their website.
The Ethnic Study CoWork Café & Books and La Diáspora Chicopee, two BIPOC-operated community-based workspaces, recently opened in the area. Based in Springfield, The Ethnic Study is a Black and Womxn-owned co-working space that offers small businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives reliable and flexible shared workspaces through memberships and day passes. A collaborative maker space and retail shop for local creatives, La Diaspora Chicopee opened its doors last month and has already hosted a series of events.
A collaborative comprised primarily of Black women business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders came together last year to form the Berkshire Black Empowerment Platform. Known as “Blackshires,” this initiative is working towards building a community-owned digital public directory of Berkshires-based African-American businesses and organizations. This directory will also highlight upcoming events, ways for new BIPOC residents to seek resources and meet their neighbors, and businesses for those visiting the area to support while they are in the area. Women currently participating in Blackshires include Mental Health Professional, Personal Chef, and Wellness Entrepreneur, Brooke Bridges, Sharron Frazier-Mclain of Barrington Stage, Actress, Anti-Racism Practitioner, and Corporate Trainer, Melle Powers, and Vice-Chair of the Town of Great Barrington’s Selectboard, Leigh Davis. Blackshires is supported and currently facilitated through cooperative community empowerment enterprise, Team R3SET, and the contemporary storytelling and marketing company, SP3AK EASY Studio.