Students can help combat the systemic racism inflicted on the black community by supporting local black-owned businesses.
The past year brought many new struggles for UMKC students to overcome. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced the world to adapt to new ways of learning, working and connecting with each other.
But while the Kansas City community grapples with the new citywide mandate that requires wearing a mask in a public space, there are members of the community who have been navigating their own struggles of police brutality, income inequality and lack of resources for generations. These are struggles that attracted national attention and sparked thousands of protests across the United States only a few months ago.
As the fight for police reform, reallocation of funds for community resources and charges against officers involved in the murders of black lives continues, one of the quickest and most sustainable ways to support the black community is by spending money at black-owned shops and restaurants.
Here is a list of local black-owned businesses students can support:
If you’re looking for a quick snack, a refreshing drink or a healthy meal to get you through a day of classes, head to Ruby Jean’s Juicery at 30th and Troost. Founded by Chris Goode in memory of his grandmother, Ruby Jean’s offers a variety of juice, breakfast and lunch options. Cool off with a No Sweat juice, grab a Protein Builder Bowl for lunch, or power up for a late-night study session with a sweet potato brownie.
Equal Minded Cafe at 4327 Troost is more than a restaurant. It serves as a central part of the Kansas City community, assuring anyone who comes into the business that they are equal and welcome. The restaurant offers a variety of breakfast, lunch and cafe items, all made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Mesob at 3601 Broadway serves up authentic Ethiopian and Carribean cuisine. Try their jerk chicken and waffles, or the Ethiopian stir-fried beef tibs. Stop by on a Friday or Saturday night to sip on one of their rum-based cocktails and enjoy live jazz and reggae music.
Alyissa Johnson is a woman of many talents. A former graphic designer for Hallmark Cards, Johnson left the company to pursue her creative passion as a freelancer and now sells her design products on Etsy, Society6 and Redbubble. Whether you need a motivational poster to spruce up your space or a CDC-approved face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Johnson offers a variety of designs to help you do it all in style.
Willa Robinson’s store located on 1734 E. 63rd St. boasts Kansas City’s largest collection of African-American books and vintage vinyl records. The shop’s catalog includes rare African-American literature, comic books, jazz and blues records.