By Julian Peters
The Around The Way app puts a Black-owned business directory in the palm of your hand.
Created by Janine Hausif, the user-friendly app allows users to search for local businesses by various categories, such as bakeries, banks and restaurants. By tapping into the phone’s GPS, the app gives the locations of all the businesses within a five mile radius and gives directions on how to get there. The app also allows each user the ability to submit the information of any businesses not limited, effectively crowdsourcing the database.
There is a Swedish proverb that goes “The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.” This may not be quite what the Swedes had in mind, but Around the Way gives the Black community the opportunity to support their own and affect their neighborhoods economically.
It’s no secret that America is a capitalist society; in every sense, we cast our votes with our wallets. When you have wealth, you have power. Yet, so much of the money being spent in the black community is leaving without being of any benefit to its people. With Black spending registering at almost $1 trillion a year, that’s a lot of money leaving Black neighborhoods. By giving the Black community the opportunity and awareness to be conscious about how they spend their money, one smart phone app is creating agency in the black community.
It is my strong belief that we as Black people must take it upon ourselves to affect change on our own communities. It is time to stop asking and do what’s necessary to help ourselves. From an economic standpoint, that means supporting Black businesses so that they may, in turn, support us. With more wealth in Black hands, we can take some of the rights that society denies us. We can employ our neighbors. We can fund our community organizations.
There was no asking during the sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement, protesters decided that they were going to disrupt businesses by obstructing their patrons until they were given fair treatment. During the Bus Boycotts, people walked miles to and from work, busted feet, corns and all. They demanded fair treatment by disrupting the Bus companies’ business. Of course it was inconvenient, to say the least. But Southern Blacks came to a decision about what they wanted and decided that they weren’t going to budge until they got it. When you have unity, you have power.
We should not so readily give our money to those neighborhood stores owned by people of other ethnicities, who don’t live in the neighborhoods they serve and most likely wouldn’t hire the people who patronize their businesses. We should work to empower those who will hire and pay a living wage to those who look like us and live in our community.
Around the way gives an edge to those who want the ability to make conscious purchases that will help keep black money in black hands. We should support Black business in every way possible, and this app gives us a huge hand in doing so.