A new local non-profit organization is aiming to tackle a long-standing problem in the Reno area. The Black Community Collective was recently formed to provide support for Black-owned businesses.
Founder Edward Coleman, who is working on his doctoral degree in finance, told This Is Reno that longstanding structural racism is part of what has prevented Black-owned businesses from thriving.
“I saw the lack of scalability of most Black businesses and … what a lot of those causes were,” he said of why he founded the organization. With the BCC, one of its core functions is to gain access to resources and help distribute those to the community.”
He said the organization is planning events, getting grants and gathering resources.
The BCC has held two events. One was a community meeting, and the other was a screening of “ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Both were well attended, but Coleman said they are still introducing the organization to the community.
“In all metrics, the Black community is at the bottom of the scale – you name it, education, income, home ownership…” he added. “Reno itself is structured in such a way that it is difficult for Black people to get access to those resources, whether it’s not having good-paying jobs so you don’t have time or whether you run into a wall – the system, basically, you run into a wall.”
He spoke of his role on the City of Reno’s charter committee as an example. He said city departments were able to identify barriers and issues but, he explained, city government “didn’t do anything” to reduce inequality.
“There’s a history of this neglect here,” he added.
The BCC is not just for people of color, though.
“We’re focused on long-term community investments,” Coleman added. “We like to create an environment that is safe and friendly for Black people. We see ourselves serving the entire community.”
Learn more about the Black Community Collective online: https://thebcc1.org.
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Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.