July 7th is #BlackOutDay,
Think Local To Help Combat Racism

By Donna Haghighat, CEO, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts

We can no longer look away nor ignore the racism baked into our country’s history and the systems surrounding us today. How can we as individuals untangle these seemingly impossibly intertwined roots? Along with educating yourself, starting with what you can do right in your region is a great place to do your part.

July 7th is #BlackOutDay2020. Support #BlackOutDay2020 by shopping Black-Owned businesses in Western MA and by encouraging other folks to use their economic power to support Black-Owned businesses right here in Western Massachusetts.

At the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, we understand that it will take much more of a day of shopping to help these most vulnerable businesses, which have overcome several obstacles but still face so many more barriers. For instance, the overwhelming number of businesses that received the support of the Paycheck Protection Program were white-owned businesses. Why? People of color often lack access to banking relationships and this support was only available through a bank.

The Women’s Fund is particularly interested in lifting up women of color owned businesses as they comprised the smallest percentage of entrepreneurs before the pandemic, and because it aligns with both our women’s economic security and gender and racial justice priorities. It is also a great investment in family economic security. Invest in women and they invest in their families.

Thanks to enthusiastic sponsorship from The Jamrog Group, we are developing a Power Women Hour series to showcase women of color led businesses in a fun and informative virtual format. The series launches in September. You can donate to the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts to support our ongoing efforts towards racial and gender justice, the economic security of women, girls, families, and communities.

On July 7th we particularly encourage you to support the many other racial justice organizations working right here in Western Massachusetts including two that are Black women-led: Arise for Social Justice and Multicultural BRIDGE. Live local, give local, and make real change.

We would like to continue this work for and with the community. If you are able, please consider giving a gift for gender and racial equity.