"Resiliency funds" are helping Black-owned business stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, continuing a long tradition of mutual aid within African American communities with limited access to capital, networks and government programs. (Sept. 28)
JUDI HENDERSON: Our main business is we recycle mannequins for department stores when they close or remodel. And we resell those mannequins for other people. Then people use those mannequins for a variety of art projects. And we do have art classes here.
The recession and the COVID shutdown has really negatively impacted our business. Number one, we were closed down for about a month and a half. I'm standing here right now because we did get the resiliency fund. I only had enough to kind of just pay payroll for a couple of more months, but I said no new initiatives. Now that we have some new initiatives, we have other revenue streams coming in. And that's what's helping to keep things up.
CATHY ADAMS: The reason we started this fund-- due to the systemic racism behind the PPP funds-- also how our black-owned businesses have been marginalized for so long. And we figured we had a call to action to do something.
IGUEHI JAMES: So I was, you know, thankful to have received $5,000 from the fund. And that money was used to kind of help me with my pivot-- pay for marketing expenses, pay for kind of production expenses. And I think just the African-American community in general-- we have a history of having to support each other. Right? And so there are opportunities that are presented that we don't often qualify for.
So oftentimes, we have to turn to our neighbor and turn to people within our community to assist us, to help us. And so, in a sense, that's what this resiliency fund has been for a lot of us business owners.