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Austin is a city full of hope and opportunity. It’s a great hub for business as the spirit of entrepreneurship crosses ethnic demographics. Unfortunately, like most major cities in the world it also has challenges. Gentrification hit East Austin hard (much like Harlem, South Dallas, San Francisco; literally pick almost any major city in America).

Supporting local diverse businesses (along with corporate entities) just makes plain old fashioned good sense. You don’t have to choose one to the exclusion of the others. They work best together. Both provide amenities, jobs and a vital tax base. You can have a social media account on one of the technology giants like Facebook & Twitter and also support local black owned tech talent like MsXFactor. You can also support a major real estate development and shop at Apple or Neiman Marcus just as easily as shopping at the high end designer retail boutique Altatudes (in East Austin). The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce encourages this cross interaction for the strength of the entire community.

There is always so much be to be angry and discontent about (displacement, discrimination, blatant racism, lack of resources) in fact too many issues to be corrected in one lifetime. Austin has a long history of citizens and non-profit organizations fighting for social and economic justice. Please take time to either volunteer or donate to some of them. Here are just a few but (Austin Area Urban League, NABA) feel free to research and find more.

If you’re angry about displacement or the lack diverse business owners; be intentional about your spending power. When was the last time you dined at Hoover’s or Mr. Catfish (and a host of fine food trucks like, Emojis Grilled Cheese. It does however require work to source and planning to visit. If you’re angry about a company not understanding your buying significance or consumer habits, channel that energy in ways to build and not destroy. Be instrumental in being a viable solution for sustainability.


Tam Hawkins

President & CEO Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce