entertainment

Black Lives Matter has a new tool to help shoppers find black-owned businesses

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A map of black-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area.
Image: screenshot, BLM, JWT

For anyone looking to support black-owned businesses this holiday shopping season, a new online guide is making them much easier to find.

The eponymous activist organization behind the Black Lives Matter movement is partnering with New York ad agency J. Walter Thompson to create a nationwide interactive map to show shoppers where to find restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and other small businesses owned by African Americans.

The group released a beta version of the tool on Monday with more than 300 locations listed mostly concentrated in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.

But the creators say the project is intended to be a continual work-in-progress. The goal is to tap social networks and black business owners themselves to build a sizable directory in all 50 states by the end of next year.

Markers on the map can be filtered by categories of business like “food and beverage,” “entertainment” and “health and beauty” across any given area. Beyond the Google-powered map, the site also includes dropdown lists of black-owned e-commerce sites and nonprofits.

Black-owned business have long been a staple in the Black community providing jobs, economic security and somewhere for us to go and feel seen and safe, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a statement. In these uncertain times, we need these places more than ever.

The project will be boosted by a social media campaign involving promotion from key activists and influential personalities. Black Lives Matter has also enlisted the storied ad agency to handle much of the group’s advertising and marketing needs going forward.

“Working in advertising, I believe that the messages we push out have an impact and that we have a responsibility to try and shape culture positively,” JWT CEO Lynn Power said in a statement. “I am really glad that our partnership with Black Lives Matter is giving us the opportunity to play a truly active role.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/12/19/black-lives-matter-ad-agency-business-guide/

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