Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Racial equality is an issue that has been on the books for quite some time. However, in recent years, the spotlight has been on companies and what they are doing to implement real change. The idea of inclusive growth is neither new nor a passing trend. The nation’s legacy of racism and the growing public outcry for inclusivity has spurred business leaders in the private and economic sectors to do what they can to help level the playing field.

The Corporate Response To Call For Change

The pandemic has affected the Black population more severely than any other in America. When paired with the wholesale abuse of power by the police department and the justice system, movements that support people of color have picked up steam. NAACP, Black Lives Matter, UndocuBlack Network, and the Color of Change among many others have called for those in power, specifically corporations, to support change and racial equality in the country. While businesses usually take a neutral stance in issues of politics, religion, and race, these calls simply could not be left unaddressed. Many leaders in both the private and public sectors have publicly shown their support of the African American Community. The method in which support has been shown varies depending on the company, but every ounce of support is appreciated.

How Corporate America Is Supporting Racial Equality

Some companies are using philanthropy to show their support while others are giving direct donations to communities in need. While these are welcomed, they are more of a stop-gap than a working solution. Changing business practices by investing in POC communities and making racial equality changes from the top will support more lasting change. In various industries, CEOs have taken note and made a point of adding more black and other people of color not only to their employee roster but also into higher positions of power. To take things even further, a large number of companies have used their influence to force or encourage change within local institutions and civic organizations.

Supporting The POC Community Where It Counts

Companies from all industries such as fashion, technology, beauty, and more have committed their wallets to the cause. These funds have gone to help raise awareness about racism and its effects in addition to helping communities that have a high population of POC. Not to be overlooked are the billions of dollars corporate America has poured into funds that are dedicated to increasing diversity in the workplace and also ending police brutality. In fact, by the middle of 2020, there were close to 2 billion dollars pledged by operations to help and address racial inequity as a whole. One of the most notable contributions is by Google. As the world’s largest and most used search engine, they are in a unique position to effect real change in the USA. They provided $25 million dollars worth of Google Ad Grants to groups and organizations that are fighting racial injustice and working towards racial equality. The importance of these grants is that they allowed groups that may not have been able to afford prime placement to disperse critical information to the public.

Companies Fighting Back Against Racial Inequality

While not everyone has joined the fight, there are plenty of companies both large and small that are supporting the fight against racial inequality. PayPal has pledged $530 million to help support businesses owned by black people and other minorities. Google has made a point of increasing the number of blacks and other POC represented in the C-Suite. Bank of America has pledged $1 billion to help with racial inequality caused by the pandemic. PepsiCo used $400 million to create an imitative that deals with racial inequality in business relationships and hiring decisions. Amazon has distributed 10 million dollars to a dozen organizations fighting racial inequality.

More than money is needed to help root out and cure racial injustice. Corporations have also issued statements and promise to address internal issues that cover a lack of diversity and racially charged business practices. Diversifying the leadership is one of the main ways corporations have stated they will start remedying racial inequality. A diverse power structure will better place companies in a position to not only identify bias but to mitigate it more effectively. At the retail level, many popular chain stores have made a commitment to remove theft deterrent casing from black products which have long been seen as symbolic segregation in the POC community. This year has already seen major rebranding of many products that were racially charged or otherwise formed on antiquated ideas that supported racist stereotypes.

Is It Enough To Make A Difference?

Race has been a problem in the country since well before its formal creation. As long as it has taken for the country to be formed, you can expect it to take just as long for the population to reach some semblance of equality. Slavery was abolished more than a century ago, but segregation was abolished less than 60 years ago. Racial discrimination has been a problem ever since, but with time, education, and a concentrated effort, the population can start to put real changes into effect. While the monetary pledges and even the changes to the corporate structure may never be enough, it is a great start to help the nation start to heal. True racial equality will happen when people stop viewing those around them as different, but rather as fellow human beings. Until then, changes in the corporate field will help fuel changes from the top down.  

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Black Entrepreneur Program Makes a Big Wave

Black Entrepreneur Program Makes a Big Wave

On April 8th, 2021 the Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) held their latest graduation and pitch contest. The participants completed an extensive 12-week program learning how to effectively start and grow a business, and this particular event was nothing short of amazing. 

Kira Cheree, business coach, author, and CEO of EBB, started this company in 2014, and while doing one-on-one business consulting for Black entrepreneurs, she began to fall in love with the process. However,  she soon noticed something missing from the African American entrepreneurial scene.

“I saw so many disparities and so many gaps in the community for Black entrepreneurs,” said Kira. “It was easy to see right away what those gaps were – access to capital, networking, trust for our community, and cultural competency.”

Kira has made it her mission to help these budding entrepreneurs with the fundamentals of business by offering a number of programs to those in the greater Kansas City area and surrounding regions. This year the company has graduated 100 African American entrepreneurs, and their most recent graduation and pitch contest was nothing short of amazing.

“It was so profound because the last go-around was full of Black women entrepreneurs. This particular cohort was just full of Black girl magic and Black girl power.”  

I had the pleasure of speaking with the three winners of the pitch contest, and they shared their experience with EBB and how the 12-week program helped prepare them for the next step in their entrepreneurial journey.

Kayla McClellan won first place at the pitch contest. She’s the co-owner of Queen Vibes KC, a wellness studio for Black women that offers dance and fitness classes by professionals who represent them. Kayla said that she and her business partner, Olivia, noticed the lack of Black women fitness spaces.

“But why? It’s not like Black women don’t work out. Why is it that we’re usually the two Black girls making eye contact in the room?”

She continued to tell me that after doing some research, she noticed many Black women prioritize community when visiting fitness facilities and due the lack of representation, it can sometimes be difficult for them to make fitness a regular routine. With Queen Vibes KC, she wants to provide a space for Black women to feel comfortable in their skin and ultimately encourage more women to get on their fitness journey.

“We need a space where the music speaks to our soul; we need a space that’s for us.” 

Wanting to make this vision a reality, Kayla spoke about her research on starting a business and how easy it can be to get lost in a sea of information. She then went to her aunt for business advice, who directed her to EBB and their 12-week business program. 

“It fit into my schedule and it’s geared toward Black entrepreneurs and I was like, that’s a space I want to be in.” 

She explained how well thought out the curriculum was and how Kira showed them how to apply it to their business. She also emphasized the community aspect of the program and how she never felt she was on her own.

“It’s so helpful that she [Kira] walks you through it. It’s one thing to read something and fill in the blanks, but during the lessons, she asked what we thought about this or what we thought about that, so it was really helpful.”

Though the course was challenging, Kayla said that it prepared her and her business partner for many aspects of their growing business.

LaRonda Lanera, owner of We Got It Covered Catering, won second place at the pitch contest. After combining her love of cooking and DIY projects, she created her catering business.

“Cooking for my friends and family is something that I enjoy doing, so I turned it into a business.”

After winning a G.I.F.T. (Generating Income For Tomorrow) grant, she was gifted with an accountant, a marketing team, a business lawyer, and a business consultant to take her business to the next level. Her business consultant was Kira, the CEO of Entrepreneur Business Basics, and she informed LaRonda of the business program.

“I learned so much. Going through EBB is literally like going through a college course.”

LaRonda said that after going through the entrepreneurial program, she reformed her entire business plan. She also mentioned that the program directors made her and her cohort feel as if they were part of a community. She spoke of how the directors were easily reachable and were there to answer any questions she had.

“They’re very hands-on, they’re very thorough with the work, and they break everything down.”

Thinking back to the pitch contest she was in last month, she said it was similar to the entrepreneur reality show, “Shark Tank.”  She said that from day one, they learned how to properly write and deliver a business pitch, so when the day arrived, she felt very prepared.

During her time in the EBB program, LaRonda even got an offer from a children’s camp to do food management. 

“They needed me to do a bid, and I’m a little nervous because I had never done one before. I called Kira and she walked through it, and I got that bid, and they sent me two more camps.”

Since the graduation and pitch contest, LaRonda has been busy working with camps, offering catering and food management, and she attributes much of her success to EBB and all that she learned during the program. She one day hopes to own a warehouse in the inner city and hire more people for her catering company who are in need of work.

I had the chance to talk with Champagne Washington, owner of Peace in Pain Candles. Champagne won third place in EBB’s pitch contest and she informed me how her business came to fruition.

“My business is all about mental healing with aromatherapy. I started my business two years ago due to me needing to find something to do to get me out of my own depression.”

Champagne shared that she lost her father to gun violence and that making candles helped her cope during that difficult time. She got introduced to EBB during an event she was a part of.  Her company received a surprise spotlight segment during the event and Kira happened to be one of the guest speakers.

“One day on Facebook she just surprised me with a scholarship for EBB and it really shocked me. I didn’t expect it, it came out of nowhere. I was really happy.”

Champagne stated that she didn’t initially think of selling her products because it was a hobby for her, but she soon received much support and people interested in buying, so she took a chance and transitioned Peace in Pain Candles to a business.

“I just started meeting all these people that saw something in me. They took chances, and that’s what Kira did for me with EBB, she took a chance on me. It helped me learn more about running a business.”

She said the program’s curriculum was extremely helpful, and each week she was able to incorporate what they were learning in class into her business.

I also spoke with Champagne in regards to the graduation and pitch contest, and she stated that it was an amazing experience. She admitted that although she was a little nervous, she loved having the chance to showcase her business, as well as hear more about the businesses of the other participants.

“It was amazing to see how much the classes were helping all of us.”

The program has given Champagne the tools she needs to continue bettering the lives of others through her candles and other aromatherapy products.

Entrepreneur Business Basics is doing great work in the African American community and shows that it’s possible for us to create successful businesses. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, I urge you to check out the programs EBB offers and continue to strive for excellence.

If you would like to view EBB’s latest graduation and pitch contest, click here and enter the following passcode: &16y.3hc

Black Indie Filmmaker Finds Passion in Hemp and launches His Own Company

Black Indie Filmmaker Finds Passion in Hemp and launches His Own Company

Nestled in Doylestown, PA is hemp processor, Doylestown Hemp Company, which was created to formulate, manufacture and distribute hemp products. Thomas K. Phillips (CEO of Doylestown Hemp Company) has a great deal of passion for hemp and continues to explore all avenues that this amazing plant provides from health and wellness, food, environmentally friendly plastics, biofuel and building materials.

After the release of his first feature film – “The North Star” in 2016, Thomas moved from behind the camera as a filmmaker, and spent the past three years living the life as a hemp farmer and processor.  In 2018, the passing of the Farm Bill, legalized hemp production and declassified it as a controlled substance and in turn marked Thomas’s 1st growing season as one of the first black hemp farmers and permit holders through the Dept. of Agriculture. He spent two years in the fields growing, researching and educating himself and others on the attributes and uses of hemp. In 2020, Thomas transitioned from farming in the fields to processing hemp material and launched his own company. He began to build his product line initially focusing on CBD, CBG, CBN and CBC and the main therapeutic cannabinoids found in the plant along with the hemp seed oil maximizing on the value hemp provides to our health and well-being.

DHC has an online emporium of wellness products that have been made with all natural, USDA certified organic hemp and ingredients and third party tested. Sublingual tinctures and oils, bath and body soaps and lotions, topicals (gels and salves), and even healthy and nutritious food items incorporating hemp are the varieties of products found when visiting DHC’s website Additionally, DHC is affiliated with various organizations and medical professionals who provide an array of expertise to help you make informed decisions in your journey to overall health and wellness of your mind, body and spirit.

Focusing on quality, innovation and service, allows DHC to provide a unique blend of health and wellness products that harness powerful botanical benefits while promoting the health, wellness, and betterment of our environment. Our mission is to create, educate and explore all possibilities on hemp and all of its countless natural properties.

Contact: Doylestown Hemp Company, 205 Doyle Street • Doylestown, PA 18901

or call 267-894-6840 and visit for more information.

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program Speeds Up, Bubba Wallace Comes on Board

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program Speeds Up, Bubba Wallace Comes on Board

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Mentors program is driving into a new industry – the world of competitive racing – in the fourth episode of its digital content series featuring NASCAR driver and advocate Bubba Wallace. During the episode, Wallace mentors 18-year-old emerging NASCAR/Rev Racing driver Rajah Caruth, sharing advice about navigating adversity as the lone Black driver in the auto racing sport, industry insights and more. Starting today, fans can tune in to IGTV on @wearegolden to hear both mentor and mentee discuss their careers and experiences on and off the track.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by Bubba through this McDonald’s program,” says Caruth. “Bubba shared such great advice about racing and life, and I can’t wait to make him proud this year!”

In addition to providing one-on-one mentoring to Caruth – who is also a freshman at Winston-Salem State University – Wallace and McDonald’s gifted the driver a $1,000 gift card for racing gear.

Launched last fall, the Black & Positively Golden Mentors program pairs industry leaders with up-and-coming changemakers in the same fields taking steps today to own tomorrow. To date, the program has featured mentors in coding and music, including 16-year-old tech genius Ian Michael Brock, award-winning rapper and songwriter Big Sean and gospel legacy Kierra Sheard, respectively.

“As a McDonald’s racing partner, I couldn’t be more excited about being a Black & Positively Golden mentor,” said Wallace, who McDonald’s sponsors as a founding partner of 23XI Racing. “Mentorship is important in racing and in life, and I’m honored to help elevate young leaders as they pursue their passions and dreams. Golden Mentors is a perfect combination of both and I’m here for it all.”

The Black & Positively Golden Mentors program is a continuation of McDonald’s focus on elevating the next generation of leaders and shows the difference between being in a community and being part of one. McDonald’s is committed to feeding and fostering the communities they serve.

“Bubba Wallace’s star continues to shine brightly on and off the track, and because of that, we’re excited to call him a ‘Golden Mentor’,” said Marc O’Ferrall, Mississippi McDonald’s franchisee. “Connecting Bubba and Rajah, and the other mentors and mentees, is of upmost importance as we aim to positively impact the communities and people we serve at a time when it’s needed most.”

Visit to learn more about the Black & Positively Golden movement, and follow @wearegolden on Instagram for upcoming episodes featuring Journalist and Activist Jamilah Lemieux, and more.