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Sunday, March 7, 2021

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — “How can I help?” It’s a sentiment humans share during times of unrest.

(KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

As Black Lives Matter-protests continue in response to incidents of police brutality like the killing of George Floyd, black communities seek justice from those in power and for authorities like the police to listen.

They also ask for tangible action from the cities they live in.

The Austin-community can be a catalyst to such change by supporting black families with their wallets — putting your money where your mouth is.

Minor-ity support goes a long way

A recent fire damaged shops like Kane’s and Altatudes. You can support each by donating to a fundraiser, which has already gained more than $34,000.

Kane’s owner Stevin Kane took the fire to heart.

“I was just hurt, distraught. Really upset, really felt bad but I just didn’t want to show no emotions.”

The hardened Kane has built-up the barbershop on his own over the last three and a half years. He knew nothing of the fundraiser until family and friends told him about it. He admires the support.

“I think it’s amazing, I appreciate people coming together, doing that for me because that shows you that people really care about you. It shows that you’re doing something good in the community. You’re making a positive change, an impact on what’s going on.”

Another shop, Method Hair, stepped in and offered them some space in their shop, as well as bought equipment for them.

Council member Natasha Harper-Madison said of the relief efforts.

“That’s just a testament to how we are as people, as Austinites. During these last couple of days, it’s been easy to forget what connects us. There are so many forces that try to divide us but this is such a powerful example of what makes Austin, what makes East Austin so special… This is proof of our community’s bond. It makes me happy. I love it,” Harper-Madison said. “Black-owned businesses are frankly kind of an endangered species, especially in the heart of East Austin which was the former black business district. It’s already hard enough to make it. Throw in a pandemic and a disaster like a fire, I know it’s just devastating.”

Kane shared why it’s important to support black-owned businesses, especially more than ever before.

“For one, we’re considered the minority. The economic change, the value of the dollar is different. I mean, we’re not making as much money as the corporate companies and therefore, if we can generate as much business as we can going through those channels of being black-owned, black-businesses — move our dollar that way, it can really affect us drastically, it could do a lot of stuff for us. I think that’s what we need in this day and age with what we’re going through in America.”

To him, it’s the “greatest feeling in the world” despite challenges they face.

“We can achieve something. My goal is I want to be a positive role model to younger kids, and if they can see me doing something, making it, I think that can give them that much more of a push to further their education to get to a point where they can own something. That’s the goal,” Kane said. “I’m making my own dollar, I’m making my own way… The challenges we have as a black-owned business… some of the grants that were giving during COVID-19, lots of black businesses weren’t able to receive none of those… You kind of get overlooked sometimes trying to receive all of the benefits. [Our business] is our livelihood, it’s how we provide for our families. Most black-owned businesses are not chains, they’re only one. You gotta really work hard to get the dollar to come through.”

Meanwhile, rioters and looters hit Private Stock on 6th Street in downtown Austin during last weekend’s protests. You can donate to them through another fundraiser, which has a set a new goal of $65,000.

Small businesses you can support:

Shops and more

Restaurants

If you know of a black-owned business missing from our list, please send us a Report-It.

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