A collective of Black business owners gathered on a commercial strip in Chatham Monday morning to urge their colleagues and customers to cast ballots on Election Day.
Whitney Hampton, the owner of A Progeny Global, a real estate company in south suburban Oak Forest, said candidates who support local businesses and promote racial equity should be given the most consideration at the polls.
“We must be the change that we desire,” Hampton said. “Never doubt that a small group of like-minded citizens can change the world. It really is the only thing that ever has. Be the change you desire.”
The news conference was held on a busy strip of Cottage Grove Avenue that’s home to host of small businesses, including a beauty supply shop, a martial arts studio, a financial services office, a day care, a Jamaican cuisine restaurant and a doughnut shop.
Small businesses across the country have struggled to remain viable during the pandemic, as elected officials on the state and local level have enacted various public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Negotiations over another federal stimulus package have stalled ahead of Tuesday’s election.
“Voting is the most powerful non-violent protest that you can ever do. So, get out and vote,” said Perdure Carter, owner of Dream Spots Real Estate in South Shore.
Kathryn Jackson owns Deja Hue, a painting studio in Beverly. She said her business has survived the COVID-19 pandemic so far because of her willingness to change strategies and offer different services to a wider client base.
“You have to be willing to learn something new and to do something new so that we can not only survive but thrive,” Jackson said. “So no matter who wins this election, we are still going to be in business. We are still going to be helping the community. We are still going to grow. Crisis creates opportunity, and we’re looking forward to the next stage in life.”