NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Amid protests both locally and nationally, many people throughout Middle Tennessee are looking for ways to directly support the black community.
In an area already battling gentrification, William Radford decided to open his shop The Local Distro in North Nashville. "If you buy a sandwich from a kid here you are helping a High School kid who didn't go to college but wanted to learn about the restaurant industry," said Radford, "We have 3 of them working here and we have metro students."
They partner with dozens of vendors to distribute mostly local products in one marketplace. He describes it as a community within a community. Radford says they've only seen about 25 percent of business compared to what they saw prior to COVID-19. He understands the struggles small businesses are facing, trying to stay open during this time of uncertainty.
Right now are trying times, especially for the black community. The coronavirus disproportionately affected black Americans according to multiple studies, and now we're seeing tensions run high surrounding racial injustice after the death of George Floyd. The president of the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce Carolyn Waller says the only way to move forward is together.
"Nashville was hit by tornadoes, COVID-19, and then of course the impact that this is having," Waller said, "One of the things I emphasize is how important it is to start with each other."
While protests are one way to push for change, Waller says supporting black owned businesses and the access to opportunity is just as important. Waller says we need to be intentional with where we spend our money.
"We need to connect, learn, and prosper intentionally," said Waller.
The Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce includes more than 300 businesses and members. Go to their website to find a directory of locally black owned businesses.