City launches campaign to support Black-owned businesses impacted by COVID

City launches new initiative supporting Black-owned businesses that were impacted during the economic tailspin brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo by Todd Maisel)

Southeast Queens elected officials are applauding the de Blasio administration’s launch of a targeted campaign that encourages New Yorkers to shop from Black-owned businesses that have been impacted during the COVID economic downturn.

The new initiative, called Shop Your City: BE NYC rolled out during Black History Month to generate attention and support for Black businesses, which constitute 3.5 percent of all businesses in the five boroughs.

“It is imperative that we support the sustenance of Black businesses in our city,” Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, the co-chair of the Back, Latino and Asian Caucus, said. “The launch of Shop Your City: BE NYC, happened during Back History Month, a most significant time of year. It will surely help boost the profile of essential small businesses. Be they local or virtual, the amplification of entrepreneurs via this initiative, will increase visibility and operating power.”

Studies show that Black businesses have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are twice as likely to shut down, having a 41% decrease in business activity between February and April of 2020 alone. BE NYC, a first-of-its-kind model in a major American city to help address the racial wealth gap, is actively working to address the needs of struggling Back business owners during the pandemic and beyond.

“Supporting Black-owned businesses supports not only local entrepreneurs, but the long-term goal of fostering generational wealth in communities of color,” Councilman I. Daneek Miller said. “I am grateful for the expansion of the BE NYC program and look forward to connecting southeast Queens businesses to these new resources and highlighting some of our Black-owned businesses that have been diligently serving the community during this pandemic.”

The initiative will spotlight Black businesses on social media, post online resources and encourage New Yorkers to tag Black-owned businesses they are supporting using an Instagram template. For more information on the campaign, visit the city’s website here.

“Black businesses matter, and healthy Black businesses are the backbone of healthy Black families and communities,” Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson said. “The Shop Your City: BE NYC campaign is a powerful initiative that will help to spotlight excellent Black businesses ; this is and always has been important but is more critical now than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m encouraged to see that the NYC Department of Small Business Services has worked to lead this initiative and will ensure that our office amplifies the launch of the campaign throughout Assembly District 31.”

Black-owned businesses in southeast Queens and the rest of the city struggled in the past year during a time of continued political division, racial strife, and economic recession disproportionately impacted Black-owned shops, restaurants, contractors and service providers.

“Our city has many great small businesses,” Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said. “Be sure to spend your dollars with black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Let us keep more of our dollars circulating in our communities.”