Greetings! Welcome to SusuEco blog post!
WHO ARE WE?
I am Tisha Crear and I will be posting about the journey of launching projects through the Cultural Business Incubator & Co-op (CBI). CBI is a community development platform to collectively cultivate business solutions that address economic disparity and poor quality of life in low to mid income neighborhoods. The mission of CBI is to launch and support socially responsible business hubs in low to mid income neighborhoods that promote community development through local ownership and cooperative economics.
I’m talking building better business in the hood baby!
HOOD BUSINESS AND HEALTH
If we wonder where the jobs are, there is plenty of work to be done in our neighborhoods. When one reads: “low to mid income neighborhood” What images come to mind? What types of businesses do you think of? The corner store, liquor store, gas station combo? or the check cashing, pawn shop, dollar store, car wash model? or the beauty supply, chicken chain, tobacco shop, club/bar cluster?
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some good businesses in our neighborhoods and i’m not knocking the Ma and Paw’s. However, the current condition of business and access to quality is lacking tremendously. And there is plenty of suffering because of it…
Look at the woes that come with the businesses listed above. Many of our neighborhoods are considered food deserts (Check this food desert locator) meaning there is a shortage of access to fresh food. That’s not good. One does not need a study to understand the relationship between fresh food access and diet-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Many can just look at our family members or the child eating hot chips from the local store for breakfast. And, not only our physical health but, our fiscal health? The ‘Pay Day Loan’ and ‘Title Loan’ option is a money trap! We would do much better forming susu circles and practicing ujamaa or cooperative economics. (Thus, the subtitle for this blog susu, ujamaa and nem. I will post more on these old African systems of collectively building wealth.)
IN THE SPIRIT OF OUR ANCESTORS
So i know we can create better businesses in our neighborhoods. I know that these businesses can be quality. I know that if we owned more of our neighborhood businesses then we could knock a dent in a few severe issues like employment and access to healthy options. The idea is not at all new. And it is true that there have been systematic events set in place to derail the path to economic participation and stability for the Black and African community
In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving 36-black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering-A model community destroyed, and a major Africa-American economic movement resoundingly defused.
PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE
Here, we will discuss how the Cultural Business Incubator and Co-op will test America in this era of Obama and green thinking and social entrepreneurship. History tells us that there are surely obstacles waiting. With that being said, there is no choice other than to practice
Kuumba: Do all that we can, in the way that we can, to leave it better than we found it.
Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!