Commentary

Hbg biz group launches push to help Black-owned businesses | Friday Morning Coffee

February 19, 2021 7:02 am

Good Brotha’s Books & Cafe on 3rd Street in Midtown Harrisburg (Facebook)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

As we head into the last two weeks of Black History Month (which, let’s face it, is every day, of every month, because it’s American history), a neighborhood group in Pennsylvania’s capital city is launching a campaign to build support for the city’s Black community.

As our friends at TheBurg report, the group, Friends of Midtown, wants its “One Midtown: Shop Black-Owned” campaign to help drive awareness and patronage of Black-owned businesses this month and beyond.

“Even though we think it’s important that Black-owned businesses are supported throughout the entire year, we wanted to shine a light on them during Black History Month,” Katie Talada, the co-chair of Friends of Midtown’s business committee, told The ‘Burg.

The group has launched a social media campaign urging people to shop at Black-owned businesses in the city, take a picture of the item of they’ve purchased (along with the receipt) and send it to the organization.

From there, the group will randomly draw a name, with the winner getting a $100 gift card, TheBurg reported.

If you’re in the Harrisburg area, and you’re looking for businesses to patronize, the Central Pennsylvania Black Business Directory is a good place to start.

Third Street, in midtown Harrisburg, just blocks from the state Capitol, “has a rich history of Black-owned businesses,” Talada told TheBurg.

The “Shop Black-Owned” campaign will become an annual event, and Friends of Midtown is looking to expand its efforts to other under-represented groups as well, Talada told TheBurg.

(Philadelphia Tribune photo)

In a Feb. 11 op-Ed for the Capital-StarMichael Coard, a columnist for our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune, eloquently summed up the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses “24/7/365.” His words bear repeating here:

“… if you’re only talking the Back power talk, then that’s all you’re doing- talking. But if you’re walking the Black power walk- which means religiously patronizing Black businesses by utilizing your green power- then you’re celebrating Black history, Black present, and Black future.

“Everybody who knows me knows that I’m the self-described “Angriest Black Man in America” (which is based on James Baldwin’s powerful assertion that “To be Black and conscious in American is to be in a constant state of rage”).

“But they don’t know that I’m often angry with my own people because, far too often, they are instruments of their own economic destruction. Stated differently, they far too often finance their own oppression by paying white businesses to disrespect them. They patronize white-owned stores that won’t hire them or that won’t promote them. They actually pay cash to be discriminated against. If that’s not the definition of monetary insanity, nothing is.

“Let’s get our minds right. Stop supporting white-owned businesses that don’t support us. If they don’t hire and promote Black employees and don’t advertise on Black radio and in Black newspapers, we must stop patronizing them.

” … Before getting our minds right financially, we must get our minds right culturally. And we can do that by understanding what Black History Month is really about. Here’s a hint: It’s not about each February every year. Instead, it’s about each minute every hour.”

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
The 2022 Democratic primary field for U.S. Senate just got a little more crowded. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, declared his candidacy during an appearance on MSNBC on Thursday night. Stephen Caruso has the details.

Pennsylvania may have dodged much of the brutal winter weather currently sweeping much of the United States, but snow and icy conditions across the country are still compounding delays in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Elizabeth Hardison reports.

President Joe Biden is backing a study of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people. In Pennsylvania, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia, says he plans to reintroduce his own reparations bill. Our Washington Reporter Ariana Figueroa, with an assist from your humble correspondent, has the story.

State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in Pittsburgh, has joined the call for the city to enact an eviction moratorium, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, Maria Pulzetti, an attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, says the state has to boost payments for people receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. And opinion regular Fletcher McClellan, along with Elizabethtown College graduate Paige Oustrich, says Pennsylvania can no longer ignore the silent pandemic of intimate partner violence.

Sen. Pat Toomey. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Elsewhere.
In an op-Ed for the Philadelphia InquirerU.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., explains why he voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. In it, the Lehigh Valley pol says ‘Media bias and Democratic hypocrisy do not excuse President Trump’s conduct after he lost the 2020 election.’
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether it will take up U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly’s, R-Pa.challenge to Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law, the Post-Gazette reports.
Former CBS-21 anchor Robb Hanrahanwho nearly died from a heart attack, talks to PennLive about his experience, his decision to retire from broadcast journalism, and what’s next.
The Bethlehem chapter of the NAACP has called for a return to in-person learning in the Lehigh Valley school district, the Morning Call reports.
York County District Judge Dwayne Dubs has died, aged 60, the York Daily Record reports.
A man shot by a bail bondsman in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, has died, the Citizens-Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Gas prices have increased again across Washington County, the Observer-Reporter reports.
Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union has called for its members to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations, WITF-FM reports.
GoErie takes an in-depth look at the region’s 2021 economic outlook.
Businessman and HSBC whistle-blower Everett Stern says he’ll seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, PoliticsPA reports.
Despite security concerns, online voting is advancing, with jurisdictions in nine states allowing voting by computer or app, Stateline.org reports.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, fumbled the ‘federal quarterback’ role when he jetted off to Cancun, experts tell Roll Call.

What Goes On.
9 a.m:
 House and Senate Democrats hold an online news conference calling for repairs to hazardous and toxic conditions in public school buildings across the commonwealth.
10 a.m.: The House and Senate Democratic Policy committees hold an online public hearing on racism in Pennsylvania’s judicial system.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Justin Sweitzer, of Pennsylvania Legislative Services, and to Jasmine Rivera, of Shut Down Berks, both of whom celebrate today. Best wishes go out in advance to Chris Hopkins, of PennLive, who celebrates on Saturday. Congratulations all around, friends.

Read Any Good Books Lately?
If you haven’t already, come on over and join us at the new Capital-Star GoodReads Book Club. We’ll be sharing what we’re reading, and you can weigh in on your favorite books as well. Associate Editor Cassie Miller gets things rolling with her latest read, “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, by Robert P. Jones. I’m currently reading “A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes. It’s a retelling of the Trojan War from the perspective of the women whose lives it changed. If you loved Madeline Miller’s “Circe,” you’ll love this one.

Heavy Rotation.
The reggae world lost a titan on Thursday. Vocalist and deejay, Ewat Beckford, better known as U-Roydied at the age of 78U-Roy was a totemic figure in the dub scene that emerged from Kingston studios in the 1970s. And “without him there would be no Dancehall, no Hiphop, no Rap, no Afrobeat,” the producer Mad Scientist, who worked with him, told Rolling Stone. I’ve loved his work for years. Here’s an essential playlist of his work for your Friday morning.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Toronto bested Ottawa 7-3 in a Battle of Ontario match-up on Thursday night. The ‘Leafs’ Auston Matthews scored twice on the way to the win, also notching two assists to extend a personal point streak to 15 games.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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