Food & Drink

How to Support the Black Community in Atlanta Right Now

From nonprofits and community organizations to restaurants and bookstores.

Whether you’re looking outside your window, watching the news, or keeping your eyes glued to social media, it’s evident that Atlanta’s Black community is hurting, just as others are around the country. In response to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, droves of Atlantans met in the city to protest longstanding injustices. With protests continuing across the city, many local Black business owners are speaking up about the city’s current climate.
 
“I’m feeling everything -- shock, grief, sorrow, anger, compassion, pride, fear, courage, confusion, empowerment, and exhaustion,” says Adrienne Leak, the owner of A. Leak Hair Studio. “The biggest way to support the Black community right now is to listen to each other, check on each other, and reassure each other that you are present and in this moment sharing each other’s pain. With each day we will take an intentional step towards healing and justice.”
 
Right now, one of the ways you can help to support Black-owned organizations in Atlanta by donating to nonprofits and community efforts, patronizing local establishments, and getting yourself educated. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference right now.

Donate to nonprofits and community efforts

Atlanta has a thorough assortment of social justice and nonprofit organizations -- including Project South, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, SONG, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, ACLU, The New Georgia Project, the NAACP’s Georgia chapter, and many more. In order to stay updated about different ways that you can help or contribute to them, you can follow along on social media. As always, pay attention to local politics and here’s an aggregated list of petitions you can sign to get the attention of the Georgia legislature.

Another organization that’s long been doing good in an underserved Atlanta neighborhood is PAWKids, which recently partnered with rapper Killer Mike (see more below) to provide meals to the Grove Park community during COVID-19 and the more recent political upheaval. 

In addition, you can donate to the bail fund for the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protestors in Atlanta, make calls on behalf of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and find more information on how you can reach the local players who have influence in each of these cases. 

As always, pay attention to local politics and the Black Lives Matter movement has made it easy to strategically sign petitions -- from charging all four officers involved in the murder of George Floyd to encouraging the Georgia State Legilature to pass a hate crime bill.

GRASS VBQ Joint
The Titustown “veef” chopped brisket sandwich from Grass VBQ Joint | GRASS VBQ Joint

Support these Black-owned restaurants

Start by pulling up to the Bankhead Seafood truck, which was a well-known and consistently good source of food on the Westside for 50 years before closing in 2018. But local rappers and community leaders Killer Mike and T.I. quickly worked to reverse the closing by purchasing the restaurant. Now, while it awaits its formal brick-and-mortar relaunch, you can order fried seafood, hushpuppies, and slaw for a good cause. 
 
Grab a latte and support the COVID-19 relief fund at Urban Grind, which has developed a welcoming community of coffee-lovers, creatives, and hard workers. Check out Busy Bee Cafe, which has more than 70 years of experience serving up some of the best soul food in the city. Founded by Lucy Jackson during segregation, it remains Black-owned to this day, currently under the helm of Tracy Gates. 
 
Plus, check out plant-based options such as Slutty Vegan and Grass VBQ, great dessert spots like Sublime Doughnuts and Vintage Frozen Custard, and classic Atlanta eateries like Kenley’s and Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt.

Zucot Gallery
"Fresh Cut 1" by Charly Palmer at Zucot Gallery | Zucot Gallery

Patronize local Black-owned businesses 

With the hardships of COVID-19 still weighing heavily on most minority businesses as well as some physical store damage due to riots, many Black businesses could use a hand right now. 
 
Secure some merch from ZuCot Gallery in Castleberry Hill that boasts one of the largest inventories of African-American art in the Southeast. Since its founding in 2008 by Troy Taylor, the gallery has become a staple in the Atlanta community and, while it’s closed, you can still virtually peruse its current exhibition and support the gallery by copping some official merch.

Beefing up your wardrobe may not exactly be on your mind right now, but it is another way to support the community. There are a slew of local Black-owned fashion brands and clothing stores, from Pressed and Atlanta Influences Everything to Versus ATL and Tags. You can feel good about shopping at many of these businesses as they themselves work to give back to the community. A Ma Maniere regularly leads social justice initiatives, and God Is Dope -- the Edgewood store behind the shirts that you’ve seen everywhere -- recently raised $25,000 for George Floyd’s memorial funds by selling a benefit t-shirt.

During this time, something as simple as reading a book or vibing out to music helps, and there are plenty of Black-owned businesses that could help with both of those options. If you’re a bookworm looking for a stimulating read, check out For Keeps, a modern Auburn Avenue haven for rare and curated Black books. For tunes, look no further than the legendary DBS Sounds, an independent and socially responsible record store in Riverdale with a diverse offering of music across genres.

More ways to help?

Check out a list of national organizations we've compiled here. If you have thoughts on other businesses you'd like to see included in our local stories, please email feedback@thrillist.com.

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Joshua Robinson is a Black Atlanta-based contributor who is hurt and fed up, yet inspired and ready for change. Black lives matter.