OK, I will admit that I wanted to employ just the right amount of provocative to get your attention, not only about the return of the Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) Black Market but also the debut of the 1st Annual GRABB Awards reception.
This year's Black Market is an event devoted to increasing the visibility of Black-owned businesses, bringing the community into the awareness camp so they can understand the power of patronizing these local businesses, and supporting the businesses during the holiday season and beyond. This year, the market is combined with a new event, the GRABB Awards. The GRABB Awards were created to recognize, reward and celebrate Black businesses, individuals and community organizations that work hard to build up and make a difference in our community. So this weekend's event is a one-of-a-kind, two-day, two-part event designed to help jump start your holiday shopping while supporting and celebrating Black businesses.
This year's GRABB Awards on Friday evening will feature keynote speaker Pashon Murray, Co-Founder of Detroit Dirt, who was recently honored at the 2014 Martha Stewarts American Made Awards. http://detroitdirt.org/
The GRABB Awards reception is $25 to attend and will be held at the Avenue for the Arts' Mosaic Space (25 S. Division Ave.). Guests of the GRABB Awards will be treated to an unforgettable evening that includes the chance to enjoy the keynote speaker, network, shop and enjoy a beverage or two.
On Saturday, the free-to-enter Black Market Pop-Up Shop will move from Friday night's South Division spot to Southtown's LINC (1167 Madison Ave. SE). Guests who venture to this vibrant and beautifully developing community-focused neighborhood will be treated to a great shopping atmosphere featuring live soulful music, children's activities (including a chance to visit with Santa), as well as prizes and giveaways for kids of all ages.
"The Black Market reinforces the work of GRABB to foster a micro-economy that supports the revitalization of the Black community and expands opportunities for Black businesses in the Metro Grand Rapids area," says Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses' founder Jamiel Robinson. "Also, to improve the quality of life for impoverished Black families by creating a viable and sustainable business community."
The urgency of this matter in our community is underscored by the recent visit to Grand Rapids by the co-author of Just Growth, Dr. Manuel Pastor, who, along with co-author Chris Benner (profiled in G-Sync Editorial LINK) discussed his startling research about the very real conditions of racial equity and economy, and what it means for our future city. While in Grand Rapids, Dr. Pastor reiterated what Benner had already revealed to a packed house at Meijer Gardens -- that nearly 45 percent of the estimated 40,000 African Americans in Grand Rapids live at or below the poverty line. GRABB is trying to change that.
"The Black Market represents an opportunity for us to shift our consumer behaviors and activity," says Robinson. "Through the Black Market I seek to continue to create more visibility and awareness for Black businesses in the Metro Grand Rapids area."
If there ever was a time for you to get off your butt and support your community regardless of color, now is the time. (I do hope you will make time to stop by here on Saturday.)
Admission: $25 for the Friday night awards reception, Saturday is free.