Helping black-owned businesses amidst nationwide protests

ByBriana Collier|June 9, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT - Updated June 9 at 6:27 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As Black Lives Matter movements and protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, black business owners here in Savannah are speaking out. They say now is the time to support black businesses as another way to take a stand against racism.

After weeks of peaceful protests in Savannah calling for change against racial injustice, many advocates took to social media encouraging people to support black businesses as another way to take a stand.

"Instead of buying a whole cake if you don't want to buy a whole cake just come in and buy a slice, just give someone a gift card or gift certificate just to celebrate their birthday."

Ms. Polly has had her cake business for more than 10 years and even still she says she's experienced racial disparity.

“Oftentimes when we refer to a black business it has a stigma associated with it, that it’s a business that’s sub to other businesses," says Ms. Polly. "It just doesn’t quite measure up.”

Like her, Buccaneer club owner David Stepherson says he too feels the pinch of being a black business owner.

“The help that we need is for folks to come in here and eat and patronize black businesses,” he says.

Stephenson says there’s strength in numbers and in order to keep the movement going strong, supporting black business is another way to do just that.

“If it’s just a moment it’s going to go away, but if you continuously do it, then you get strength and your voices are heard," Stephenson says. "Going forward then it will strengthen the black businesses in the community.”

So even if it's just buying a gift card, it's the little things that make a big difference.

“I’m pleading with Savannah," he says. "I’m born and raised right here in Savannah and I’m asking Savannah to support the movement that we do as black business, in reality, do find ourselves at the lower part of the totem pole.”

Both say if people make it habit to support one black business once a week or even once a month, it will go a long way.

Photo: WTOC

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