as the anchor of values while trying to turn a profit
is like asking to being the new legistlation
that requires people to change what seems to be so basic -
such as banning plastic bags -
but has multiple implications
that aren't considered until put into a situation that requires thought and action.
Popular logic would say that most folks are against and/or pretty confused by it - and they are. However, perception is mutable and when sensibly put, confusion can become curiosity. That curiosity unviels imagination - which offers an alternative way to be. When on this rode, the mind is willing to roll with any possibility if one can make it as simple (painless) as possible.
Enter - building [my website] for MY venture. A year ago I knew when I took on a fellowship with Youth Impact Hub, I would have a platform to launch whatever project I wanted to. They needed youth who have the gift of gab and interest in starting their own business. I've always been a creative person, lover of book, studious, inquisitive in communications, beholder of truth, and a serial volunteer for social justice education.
XO, class to learn all the basics on having a social enterprise - my kinda party. I'd recently graduated, was underemployed (but doing things I loved), living in my home town of my choice by way of compromising environment, and still saw opportunity. Attending conferences such as Living the New Economy and CoCap illuminated the same needs that drove me to college - my narrative was just as compelling as anyone else. I knew that I would do so good that I invited a younger new friend, Erin Clark, to join me in building out the business idea. Little did she know, she was my first protege. Little did I know, I was gonna get a good lesson in leadership and marketing.
We attended the 16 week class series, talking what sounded like baby Black Panther womanist millennial age youth pissed off about deficits (in all areas of life). We made bold claims about predatory interest, black spending interest, black scholastic talents, in-group bias, and all that good ish. We pitch the crowd's socks off at the May Peoples Pitch at Impact Hub Oakland. Crowd was roaring like 2mins in:
We earned $1,500 that day. We became "official."
BUT: Our participatory market research begged to differ. How we're we gonna be "official" when no one really knew us. I mean, they know us individually as people. They keow as as fellows of a youth program. They knew us as young people making a difference. But no one could really sit there and say "BIZ Stoop" and tell you who we are, what we do, what we sell. No: business cards, website, mechandise, publicity, social media, newsletter - no real pull (money) to make this stuff happen. Dreams sound good in theory- but you have to materialise them into a tangible experience to know that the possiblity of imagination is no hocus pocus.
Demoralization 101 sunk in. First, I went on hiatus aka was depressed as hell. Everyday I regretted looking online and seeing that my business hadn't done anything in comparison to other start ups I knew of. The name wasn't on some flyer (people still ask for a three-peat of the name). We hadn't any materials. Was still battling with what our services verse products were - what business language did we need to use? What legal entity?
I literally thought to myself - how much is it work to sell; without selling out. Problem was, I would be selling out becasue I never fully started. Here I was saying I was going to do something for youth such as myself, something for my ancestors and the black community - and I couldn't even tell you when or what we would be doing. I was going to take our needs to the establishments that govern our financial realities - but I hadn't a clue institutions were even worthy of breathe ... I hadn't even put an ounce of energy towards the dream that has been over 10 years in the making - the dream that encapsulates first gen my college education and current employment.
they didn't leave my side.
They, who kept my alive for this time period.
They who looked to me for inspiration.
They, who sent me to the Dominican Republic
They, who follow my writing
They who were waiting for me to do so they could do.
They who couldn't wait to tell somebody "check out The BIZ Stoop, my friend is doing ..."
One new page. One new picture. One new video. One new narrative at a time. It is being built. We've been coming for what is ours - and being strategic about how and when we show up. Did you catch us on televison in September? What about New Co. Oakland in October. Did you hear us speak at Mills College Navigating Leadership in November? What about the How Kids Learn Conference that happened in Berkeley in December? What about those Winter Recommendation Repository - Economic (In)justice in Black San Francisco Bay Area Communities? Will you be there for the Feb. 5thSocial Innovation Fair - where we have been asked to help design and implement the youth challenge track?
One new page. One new picture. One new video. One new narrative at a time.