Nonprofit Reno Black Wall Street has been ramping up its outreach efforts in the community over the past year since its founding in August of 2020.
The organization—named in honor of the successful Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was decimated a century ago during the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921—does food drives and teaching in financial literacy, leadership building and credit repair. The group also does youth activities like rock climbing and redistributes donations it receives from the community like books, backpacks and hygiene and school supplies.
On Saturday, Reno Black Wall Street was at Deer Park in Sparks to distribute more than 100 backpacks and other supplies with the help of the University of Nevada, Reno, men’s basketball team.
Romar Tolliver, one of the co-founders of the organization said, “We try to do a big community resource event every month, at least once a month. This just happened to be a great time to do a backpack drive. We had the supplies, and we just came together and made it happen.”
Tolliver said Reno Black Wall Street member Christa Bell was the primary organizer of Saturday’s event.
“We got some huge donations from the community,” Bell said. “We got backpacks, and we stuffed them with binders and paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, glue, glue sticks. We’ve got masks in there, along with personal hygiene items, soaps and lotions and things like that. We’re giving a backpack away today to every school aged child—and any number of books they want to take.”
The books were donated by Grassroots Books. Reno Bike Project donated two bikes for the event to be raffled off. Audacity Beauty Parlor and Braids & Fades Hair Studio donated appointments for six children to get fresh styles prior to the start of the school year.The community can learn more about Reno Black Wall Street by visiting the organization’s Facebook page.
Governor Steve Sisolak also visited Black Wall Street July 27 to hear concerns about pandemic recovery. Watch more here:
Jeri Chadwell came to Reno from rural Nevada in 2004 to study anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2012, she returned to the university for a master’s degree in journalism. She is the former associate and news editor of the Reno News & Review and is a recipient of first-place Nevada Press Association awards for investigative and business reporting. Jeri is passionate about Nevada’s history, politics and communities.