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Black Businesses Matter Expo held in North Omaha

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 02:14:40-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Following weeks of social unrest across the nation, a local business owner says it's time for people to start taking action to uplift the Black community.

With more people on social media looking to support the Black community financially, an event was held showcasing Black-owned businesses.

The Omaha United Drill Team electrified the crowd during the Black Business Expo at the Bryant Center on Sunday afternoon.

"I think this event is great. It brings exposure to small black businesses, [and] more money in the community," Fashionably Late Boutique owner Ebony Craine said. "[We need to] circulate our dollars and make awareness of what's going on here."

"Our buying power is so powerful," event organizer Sharnelle Shelton said.

Shelton, who also owns Onyx Street Boutique, says that's why she wants to help bring Black dollars back into the Black community.

"We are still rebuilding from the riots in the 1960s decades later so that just shows how essential [it is] to continue to support Black businesses," Shelton said.

Shelton's Onyx Street Boutique is one of only two mobile clothing stores in the city.

Other vendors included various clothing boutiques, as well as makeup and accessory businesses. Artists also promoted their music.

"I think there's enough money for everyone," Craine said. "You can shop at any business. The key is to support all the mom and pops in business. Support the small businesses so we can grow to be a bigger business."

Keshia Partridge, a family facilitator for Omaha Public Schools, created the Ear Full Conversation Deck, which helps parents have purposeful conversations with their kids.

"Kids have things to say and a lot of times we automatically feel like they may not or that maybe they're too young to have these conversations," Partridge said. "But they're thinking these things so just being intentional setting aside those times and just having questions that will provoke those conversations."

She tells 3 News Now the generation needs to understand the importance of entrepreneurship.

"Kids really just need to see themselves so businesses like this is just an example of how much representation matters," Partridge said.

Attendees say they hope to see similar events in the future.

"I think this is beautiful," attendee Jouelle Banister said. "It's definitely peaceful and it's just a lot of different entrepreneurs showing what they have available. They have sales and everything. It's a very nice event."

Shelton says she hopes to host another Black business expo in August or September.