Supporting Black Individuals in Communities

February 1st, 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes

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Black History Month is an annual celebration of Black people and Black communities all across the world. Not only is it a time to look back in history and celebrate monumental Black figures who have fought for racial equity, but it is also a time to celebrate the innovations and strides Black people are currently making. Let’s honor and celebrate Black individuals in local and international communities, not just in February but all year round. Here is a brief list of ways to support Black individuals and Black communities, whether it be at work or individually.


Support Black-Owned Businesses

A very easy way to support Black people in the local community is by actively researching and bringing support to their businesses. Black businesses make up a very small part of the market, with only 2% of businesses in the United States being Black-owned. This is mostly due to systemic oppression, such as the racial wealth gap that was exasperated by previous racist policies, and the effects are still felt today.

It is important to make conscious efforts in uplifting local Black community members who are working hard to change the current statistics. An easy way to find local businesses in the area is through apps such as Shop Black Owned, a directory that helps find Black businesses in your immediate area (it is currently only available for eight cities), or Official Black Wall Street, which has multiple countries and locations. In addition, simply going through personal circles and asking for recommendations might lead to some hidden gems. From there, there are many ways to support, from buying products to leaving reviews to even having your workplace sponsor them. You can even have food catered.  


Support Black Artistry

Another way to support Black individuals is by lifting up Black art. Looking at or listening to different forms of art created by Black individuals is a great way to learn more about the culture, expand personal horizons, and support the Black community. 

One place to start is by reading books authored by Black voices. Black authors are severely underrepresented in the publishing industry, and when they are featured, it is usually under the very specific category of Black oppression. While it is important to hear about the experiences of Black people and learn of their struggles, it is also important to understand that they are not a monolith and to consume stories from them that are also joyful and creative. Some authors to check out include Colson Whitehead and Marlon James.

In addition to Black literature, you can also support the community through music and visual art, as well as TV and film. Black people have been extremely innovative all throughout art history, from music legends such as Nina Simone and John Coltrane to artists like Barbara Jones-Hogu. There are remnants of Black artistry all throughout art movements today. Going to local art galleries, exploring new music genres, or having a movie night are all great ways to explore Black creativity.


Learning Black History

Last but not least is to support the Black community simply by listening and learning. So much of Black history has been buried and continues to remain untold, so it is important to take initiative and learn about the history of Black people in your community and country to be more educated on the opportunities and challenges that Black communities face around the world today.

For so long, Black history has been told by others, which has led to veiled truths from dominant groups to sanitize history. Today, Black people are finally able to tell their own stories and have platforms to do so; therefore, it’s crucial we listen to them to truly understand Black history, as well as the Black experience. 

The Black community is one that should be celebrated all year round, not just in February. Make sure to support and show allyship to your Black neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family by listening to their experiences, as well as using this guide as a stepping stone to continue to support and uplift them.

Woman posing for photo
Liz Mugho
Marketing Intern

Liz is a passionate advocate who loves writing and nature. With a background in marketing, journalism, and nonprofits, she uses her skills in research, storytelling, and communication to ensure that she is bringing forth unique and compelling articles that aid Brightmark’s mission. Liz is a current undergraduate at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Anthropology.

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