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Boston Bar Owners Launch Coalition To Help Black-Owned Restaurants Survive Pandemic
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted black communities at a disproportionate rate. The threat to black lives and livelihoods can be felt across the country, and a newly formed working group of Boston business owners is determined to do something about it in their community.
As the threat of losing all black-owned restaurants looms over the city, the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition is raising funds and awareness, stating that the current threat to Boston’s black-owned businesses is a “state of emergency.”
“During this devastating public health crisis, we are also forced to grapple with an economic crisis that has disrupted our livelihoods and significantly undermined the financial security of our most vulnerable community members,” says the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition website.
Despite being 25 percent of the city’s population, black residents make up more than 42 percent of Boston’s coronavirus cases where data on race is available, the Boston Globe reported.
The pandemic is “shedding a light on” the existing disparities facing the black community, says owner of Savvor Restaurant & Lounge in downtown Boston, Cheryl Straughter, to Boston magazine. “Look at the workers in the restaurant industry. Look at the employees in retail ringing these registers around here. It’s a certain ethnicity. We have to really open our eyes and expand our peripheral vision and have conversations about that.”
Along with raising awareness and elevating voices in the community, the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition will provide financial assistance for black-owned businesses across the city through online donations.
“As it stands, there are only eight black-owned liquor licenses in the city of Boston,” says the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition website. “Unless a strategic response is implemented immediately, our businesses – neighborhood anchors that represent an iconic legacy of black entrepreneurship and community development in Boston – will be forced to close their doors forever.”