Kwanzaa is observed as a national holiday by countless people in homes, schools and public and private institutions across the United States. UJAMAA (00-JAH-MAH) COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS: To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and profit from them together. Out of the fundamental concepts of “African Communal Living” comes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. In a community or family, wealth and resources should be shared. On the national level, cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies.
Fifteen young Black businessmen entered the Black-owned Industrial Bank with the intent of opening accounts. The men were members of the Black Male Entrepreneurship Institute (BMEI), a partner of the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. (USBC). The move was a calculated effort to gain support for black-on-black economics.
Ron Busby is CEO of the USBC. He said, “In order for there to be a strong Black America, you must have strong Black businesses. In order for there to be strong Black businesses, we must have strong Black banks. So, from my standpoint, this is just a reciprocation for what Industrial Bank has done for our communities for the last 80 years.”
The President/CEO of the Industrial Bank, Doyle Mitchell, was on hand and congratulated Busby for his leadership and inspiration to the young men. “I’m just humbled at the presence of mind that you have displayed since you first came to town and started taking a leadership role with the Chamber of Commerce and came to Industrial Bank and made a $5,000 deposit. You put your money where your mouth is,” he said.
Busby talked about the changes that happened in his life when he started to focus on Black business. He said that it impacted every area of his life. When it was time to buy a house, he found a Black real estate agent, a Black mortgage company, a Black title company, a Black home inspector, a Black pest control company, and a Black moving company. “Everybody that touched the transaction was a Black firm. The service was superior and the price was right.”
“There’s a trillion dollars of spending power in our community and we want to make sure that dollar stays within our community. Twenty-eight days a dollar stays in the Asian community, twenty-one days a dollar stays in the Hispanic community. In our community, our dollar leaves within six hours. We have got to change that…Until we have total control of how we circulate our money, our power and respect will continue to be marginalized,” he declared.
Busby is the leading voice supporting Black banks and businesses in America today. He hopes that he can continue to inspire young Black men and women to support the Black community by investing in themselves and their communities.