Website Starts Directory of Maine’s Black-Owned Businesses
A Maine-based group has recently created a directory of black- and brown- owned businesses for our state to build support for Maine's Black community.
The website is called blackownedmaine.com and lists the State of Maine's Black- and Brown-owned businesses. Business owners are able to fill out a form through the website to be included in the directory, using such information as business name, services, location, etc.
It was created to bring awareness to the Black businesses and professionals in Maine and to act as a safe and nurturing space to be vibrant. Their intention is to provide a space for Black people around the world, to feel comfortable travelling to Maine but also share a a space for residents and visitors alike to converge and share their values and beliefs.
How can you get your business on this list? Go to the website and fill out the form, link in the menu 'Business Submission'.
Here's what you can expect on this list:
- professionals with bookable services,
- Nonprofits and other organizations that work with majority people of the African Diaspora. This means that many not be Black-Owned but they are Black centric.
- Visual artists
- And others!
Select agencies and nonprofits that are not black-owned are also included on the list due to the support for the Black community and organizations.
Who Is Black Owned Maine?
The organization is headed by two people, Rose, who conceptualized the idea and who manages the website and social media account, and Genius Black, who 'tells the story' and took action to bring the concept to reality. Both Rose and Genius Black went to school here in Maine, Rose completing a dual-major at the University of Southern Maine in Marketing and International Business and Genius Black who completed a degree in Africana Studies at Bowdoin College.
Rose and Genius Black have known each other for seven years and credit their vision and honesty with each other as reasoning for their great partnership: "We have known each other since 2013 and immediately realized our individual visions were succinct. We aren’t afraid to constructively criticize each other and this allows us to foster an ongoing open dialogue. We are always teaching each other... Together we harness the best of both worlds. Our ideas are constantly flowing. We have so many exciting things in the works for Black Owned Maine. Now it’s just a matter of rooting down and creating greatness.."
Black Owned Maine's Inception & Building Support For the Black Community
It is no mistake that this organization has emerged now, during heightened racial tensions in the United States and protests worldwide regarding equality and fairness for Black people. Speaking with the organization, they say that the organization and website is a response and strategy to help the Black community here in Maine, stating:
"This is our chosen form of protest. We are strongly petitioning all those who align with our vision, to vote with their dollars. What does this mean? Spend money in the Black community and in turn the economy, as a whole, greatly benefits.
Our directory was absolutely an answer (to recent racial events in the United States). The recent, and past, heinous slayings of our people is absolutely horrific. Many allies of the community want to support the movement but do not know how," states the MaineBlackOwned.com web administrators."
The website's administrators also are aware that positive cultural change can occur in different ways, not just joining a one-day protest.
"Protesting in the streets is not for everyone. Whether it be due to concerns around Covid, no available child care, or the need to work to support our families. This is our way to protest. We are protesting with our dollars."
With this new collective emerging, what goals are they working towards? Creating a stronger economy for Maine's Black community and the community as a whole in the State of Maine:
"We ultimately want to boost our local economy. Let’s face it. COVID-19 has destroyed many homes, many bank accounts, and many folx morals. It is crucial that we support all of our local businesses, with strong emphasis on our local Black-Owned businesses. We are an often marginalized group that often does not receive the same type of financial support as other groups.
How do we do this? We integrate communities of color with our allies. We aim to provide a supportive and dynamic space to reignite the flame, that systems of oppression, have attempted to extinguish. A futile attempt, at that. Black folx will ALWAYS prevail.
We want to tell the world that Black people live, work, and achieve greatness here in Maine."
Black Owned Maine Website & Find Out More
Support for the organization and website has been overwhelming as businesses and professionals are sending in their information to be included in this directory, which is in the works to be better optimized but continue to include more and more businesses as they become submitted.