Central Ohio (Columbus)

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The Central Ohio (Columbus) metropolitan area has approximately 300,000 residents of African descent. According to BlackDemographics.com, Columbus has the 29th largest concentration of Black people in the United States, comprised of African-Americans, Jamaicans, Senegalese, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Haitians, Ethiopians and Eritreans to name a few. Columbus has the second largest Somali population in the nation with estimates as high as 80,000.

Brothers and sisters are uniting throughout Ohio. They are determined to redirect dollars toward the Black community. The overall goal is to uplift, build and protect our own communities and neighborhoods. No more reliance on others. No more waiting for others to protect us. We must build, protect and save ourselves. Anyone regardless of race, religion or gender affiliation is welcome to participate in this economic movement for justice and equality.

With the police killing of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Sam Dubose in Cincinnati and John Crawford in nearby Dayton, the city of Columbus is surrounded and has had to deal with their own high profile cases of extreme injustice. In less than one year, the city (named after mass murderer Christopher Columbus) experienced the police execution of 23-year-old #JusticeForHenryGreen, 13-year-old #TyreKing, 36-year-old #WhatHappenedToJaronThomas and 39-year-old #ChristopherWade. All four were killed by Columbus police and to date no one has been held accountable.

One day before he was assassinated, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pleaded with the community to “Redistribute The Pain”. In response to injustice MLK said “Now the other thing we’ll have to do is this: always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now we are poor people, individually we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the American Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it. 

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles; we don’t need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, “God sent us by here to say to you that you’re not treating His children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment where God’s children are concerned. Now if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.

And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy–what is the other bread?–Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart’s bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now only the garbage men have been feeling pain. Now we must kind of redistribute that pain. We are choosing these companies because they haven’t been fair in their hiring policies, and we are choosing them because they can begin the process of saying they are going to support the needs and the rights of these men who are on strike. And then they can move on downtown and tell Mayor Loeb to do what is right.

Now not only that, we’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank. We want a “bank-in” movement in Memphis. Go by the savings and loan association. I’m not asking you something that we don’t do ourselves in SCLC. Judge Hooks and others will tell you that we have an account here in the savings and loan association from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We are telling you to follow what we’re doing, put your money there. You have six or seven black insurance companies here in the city of Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an “insurance-in.” Now these are some practical things that we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base, and at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. And I ask you to follow through here. 

Now let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school, be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike, but either we go up together or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.

#BuyBlackOhio is a hashtag created by a coalition of local organizations and community activists who understand the importance of economic empowerment. They are part of a larger nationwide movement that includes #BankBlack and #BuyBlack. Take a look and support the following businesses that Central Ohio has to offer. Also, be sure to share your favorite Black-owned Ohio establishments on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram using the hashtag #BuyBlack. Enjoy!