Across the country (and the world), people have gathered in recent weeks to express frustration about the inequity and injustice that Black people have faced for far too long. The reach and extent of systemic racism is devastating and multifaceted, and any effort to address its symptoms will have to be as consistent, sustained, and comprehensive as the discrimination itself. If you haven’t been able to organize in person or attend a protest, there are many other valid and worthwhile ways to make your voice heard and dismantle our society’s anti-Blackness. If you have signed petitions, written emails, made calls, read educational resources, or taken time for reflection on your privilege, you have made important steps. But these are first steps, and the already-stifling economic inequality faced by Black Americans has only been exacerbated by the strains of the Great Lockdown. Black-owned businesses need support now and in perpetuity, and opening your wallet is one of the most direct and effective ways to affirm real solidarity.

For the record, a 2016 study by economists at Stanford found that only 1% Black business owners receive a bank loan in their first year of operating, compared to 7% of white business owners. This kind of gatekeeping is unfortunately mirrored in the financial details of home ownership, as Black homebuyers are denied mortgages more than twice as often as white people. The manifold obstacles to financial security for Black people are often legacies of overtly racist practices, such as redlining. If any of this infuriates you like it should, it’s simple: put your money where your mouth is.

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