Food & Drink

How to Support the Black Community in Dallas Right Now

From nonprofits and community organizations to restaurants and bookstores.

The events of the past weekend have left many at a loss for words. And many are feeling helpless in terms of what to do to support local communities that have been affected by the events surrounding the peaceful protests in support of George Floyd. Right now, one of the concrete ways you can make a difference is to support Black-owned businesses in your community that have been affected by both the pandemic and by the unrest of the past few days. From nonprofits and community efforts, to donating and supporting local businesses, here are some of the ways you can safely make a difference right now.

Support Black-owned businesses throughout North Texas

Several organizations have comprehensive directories of local Black-owned businesses, including the Dallas Black Chamber, Black Biz DFW, Support Black Owned, and Black Pages. Elsewhere, bloggers and influencers have created lists, too. 

“If you have previously visited a Black-owned location give them a positive review on all platforms (Google, Yelp, etc.). I recently created a list of black owned businesses to support without even leaving your house which you can find here,” said Brandi Barnett of Brandi’s Food Diary. “I personally have a scholarship fund I started raising money for. My fundraising efforts came to a halt when COVID hit the United States, and continued to be put on halt as civil unrest reached a head in the US. My goal was to provide a scholarship to help a future entrepreneur through my organization called The COCOA Initiative which means Collectively Our Cash Opens Avenues. We aim to be a resource to minority- and woman-owned businesses.”

In addition to Barnett’s list of black-owned businesses, Dallasites 101 has a running list on their Instagram with a focus on restaurants. User comments provide additional establishments worth supporting.

Wes Williams, BurgerIM
Wes Williams, BurgerIM | Dennis Radford/One Click Productions

Donate to crowdfunding campaigns

Many national-level crowdfunding campaigns that stemmed from the death of George Floyd have far surpassed their goals. One national GoFundMe will split funds between Black-owned businesses in Atlanta, New York, and Dallas. Another campaign kicked off Tuesday afternoon to create a support fund for Black-owned businesses. To donate to a hyper-local cause, you can send funds to support the damaged West End eatery, BurgerIM or two Black-owned retailers in Dallas, Sneaker Politics and Guns and Roses Boutique, which have created a joint GoFundMe to help pay for the destruction caused by the vandalism and looting of their businesses.

Order takeout/delivery and donate to employee funds at Black-owned restaurants

Every restaurant in the region suffered a setback from forced closures due to COVID-19, but most pivoted to offer takeout and delivery almost immediately. Now with curfews and setbacks including destruction of property for some restaurants, takeout and delivery remain a direct way to support Black-owned operations. 

“There are many ways that we can encourage consumers to purchase goods and services from Black-owned businesses. This seems ridiculous to say, but give us a chance, come eat or purchase from us. Another ask would be for our communities to help spread the word,” said Tiffany Derry, chef/restaurateur and owner of Roots Chicken Shak and Tiffany Derry Concepts. “Influencers come, newspapers and magazines write about what we offer, and most importantly to our loyal customers, tell your friends.”

Many restaurants, such as Carpenters Cafe & Catering in Fort Worth, have created fundraisers to help pay employees who were furloughed, laid off, or continue to face a reduction in hours and income. When placing orders for takeout and delivery on a restaurant’s website, check to see if they have a way to donate to an employee fund.

If you want to help both a Black-owned restaurant and hospital workers in the Medical District (Children's Hospital, Parkland, and UT Southwestern), people and businesses can sponsor the delivery of 50 meals for $500 from Hall’s Honey-fried Chicken located in the same neighborhood.

Of course, simply ordering food is a direct way of supporting Black-owned businesses. BurgerIM in the West End, Manna Juice in Mansfield, Rush Patisserie and Trailercakes in North Oak Cliff, Odom’s Bar-B-Que in West Dallas, and Roots Chicken Shak in Plano are but a handful of many available to feed your cravings. Refer back to one of the business directories above for a complete list of Black-owned eateries.

Support vital organizations

Non-profit groups and other community organizations will always be a great way to make a donation to a trustworthy team of people who understand the best ways your money can make an impact at the local level. One of the biggest initiatives in Dallas right now is the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund, which is a joint collaboration between the DEC Network, Communities Foundation of Texas, and LiftFund. The fund, supported by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, will provide $5 million in relief loan funds with at least 51% allocated to support primarily minority- and women-owned small businesses. Applications are still being accepted. 

“Small businesses are the heart of the Dallas economy, and I am grateful that the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund will be available to help many of them get through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Johnson said in a press release. “This loan program will be a boon to our city and serves as an outstanding example of how our community comes together in times of crisis to help those in need.”

Other organizations that can help these communities include Keeping Families Connected, a local non-profit that provides free transportation to and from correctional facilities for families of incarcerated loved ones; Education Is Freedom, an organization dedicated to helping students pursue a college education; the Dallas branch of the United Negro College Fund; local Black houses of worship; House of Rebirth, provider of services and resources for Black Trans women; and the African American Museum of Dallas.

Purchase merchandise, services, and gift cards online from Black retailers

“The best way to help is always to support a brand. If you know of a Black-owned business that could need some help, simply make a purchase at that establishment or tell someone about that establishment. Word of mouth is a major key to support and we all know word travels fast,” said Wes Williams, owner/franchisee of BurgerIM in the West End, one of many Black-owned businesses that was trashed during the protests. “We can each do our part to help out Black businesses in Texas. We are all in this together.”

Fortunately for consumers in North Texas, the retail options are plentiful when it comes to Black-owned businesses. The following entities have online stores, making it easy to purchase goods services and gift cards from the comfort and safety of home.

Get out your credit card and hit up Pan-African Connection, a bookstore, gallery, and community resource; My Ellevie, Unique and Natural, Danette’s Urban Oasis, and Keith Clark Collection for beauty and body care products; Berkshire Farms Winery for everything from Pinot Noir to frozen wine pops; Fineapple Vegan for a super-popular vegan cheese sauce and apparel for the entire family; digital cocktail books from Potent Pours and vegan BBQ cookbooks from AJ Jones; on-demand home workouts from VIVE Fitness available for any donation amount; or lease a luxury car, such as a Bentley or Lamborghini from Benny Black, owner of Platinum Motorcars.

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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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.