When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shut down most retail businesses on March 23d as “non-essential” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local business owners in Roxbury’s Nubian Square were immediately at risk of losing more than several months of revenue. Already faced with a weak market and a series of store closings before the pandemic, local business owners had to brace for the worst. They stood to lose their life savings if they had to close up shop for good. And if this worst case occurred, the community stood to lose important ethnic businesses which embody Roxbury’s Black and Latinx cultures.
Another commission went to Radiant Jasmin to fabricate art-infused street furniture for use in COVID-safe outdoor events and dining at Bartlett Station. Local entrepreneurs Jamal Abdal-Khallaq and Isiah Gray and their Ten Grand production company held COVID-safe “@Nubian Drive-In Movie” nights at Bartlett Station featuring films such as ‘Do the Right Thing’ in order to continue community conversation around racial justice. Ten Grand hired local members of the Male Engagement Network sponsored by Boston LISC to staff their events. (Ricardo Gomez is also a Nubian Square MEN member.)
To support local ethnic food businesses, Nuestra contracted with Soleil Restaurant to help provide emergency food relief to low-income households in Roxbury. Nuestra secured a Boston Resilience Fund grant from the city, with the majority of funds paid to Soleil to make and deliver 1,800 prepared meals to apartment buildings along Blue Hill Avenue and Dudley Street. Using this grant, Nuestra also purchased grocery cards from Tropical Foods to help over 250 families supplement the non-perishable foods available at food pantries.
Want to help promote Roxbury’s cultural businesses and fight cultural gentrification? Donate to Nuestra Comunidad today by clicking this link here!