National Black History Month: Identity and Intersectionality
As NGLCC joins the nation in celebrating National Black History Month this year, now more than ever, it is important to shine a light on the significant, positive impact that Black-owned businesses have on our country and economy.
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, minority-owned small businesses account for around 18 percent of all businesses in the country. However, lack-owned businesses make up only 10 percent of the United States’ businesses, despite Black individuals accounting for approximately 13 percent of the entire population. Black business owners are significantly underrepresented and are not always guaranteed a seat at the table in the room where it happens. Therefore, as part of the Communities of Color Initiative (CoCI), NGLCC is committed to racial justice and equity as it affects the business world, and uplifting the voices of Black entrepreneurs around the nation.
Intersectionality is a term originally coined by writer and scholar Kimberle Crenshaw over thirty years ago in the beginning of her legal career. Essentially, intersectionality is the interconnected way in which identities of disadvantaged groups (gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic class, etc.) overlap to create unique instances and experiences of oppression. Crenshaw has repeatedly emphasized the importance of intersectionality in combating larger systems of societal injustices.
In advocating for increased focus and attention to intersectionality, Crenshaw wrote, “It is somewhat ironic that those concerned with alleviating the ills of racism and sexism should adopt such a top-down approach to discrimination. If their efforts instead began with addressing the needs and problems of those who are most disadvantaged and with restructuring and remaking the world where necessary, then others who are singularly disadvantaged would also benefit.”
Following this logic, one of the best ways to approach both Black and queer liberation is to highlight and uplift the Black queer community, as they are doubly marginalized. As such, NGLCC believes it is vital to focus on the Black queer business owners who work hard against the odds to bring amazing goods and services into the market. This Black History Month, we would like to highlight the NGLCC Communities of Color Initiative (CoCI), which serves as a resource for our Black queer-owned Certified LGBTBE® suppliers.
CoCI’s ultimate mission is “to support the growth and success of minority LGBT-owned businesses through certification and business development by creating equal opportunities for the economic advancement and the empowerment of the minority LGBT business community.”
Under the CoCI program, NGLCC is able to offer networking events to help Black queer businesses grow and develop themselves further. Regardless of industry, members of the CoCI community have access to a variety of tools and materials, as well as other opportunities aimed at cultivating great business ideas. Engagement is key to uplifting marginalized business owners and entrepreneurs, so any support of the CoCI program is support of the Black queer business community.
NGLCC would like to thank each and every one of our Black-owned and operated LGBTBEs, as well as all Black-owned businesses this month and every month. To learn more about the Communities of Color Initiative, visit nglcc.org/coci.