Non-profit group in Lehigh Valley promotes, supports Black-owned businesses

In Lehigh Valley, hundreds of Black-owned businesses are being supported and promoted by a non-profit that’s based out of a church.

Winston Barnes, the owner of ‘Winston’s Jamaican Restaurant’ in Allentown, says that he is thrilled to be a part of a new list highlighting Black-owned businesses. 

"It's very important for more advertising, you know, any word of mouth can get out about us- very important," he said.

The Lehigh Valley chapter of the non-profit organization POWER, which stands for Pennsylvanians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild, is celebrating more than 200 Black-owned businesses in the area. 

This effort was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the death of George Floyd and many others.

"If Black lives matter, then we need to invest in Black communities and the businesses they built despite a history of a system designed to steal their wealth and keep them down," said Allison Mickel, POWER Communications Coordinator. 

Mary Ellen Griffin, the owner of ‘Taste of Soul’, said that she couldn't agree more. Her restaurant was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and she now makes lunches to feed inner-city children. Griffin says that she hopes the attention will give people a reason to support them. 

"We have a business too and we need to live and it kind of levels the playing field so to speak that we are getting out there finally," she said.

‘Almost Vegan’ on Liberty Street was set to open in March but could not. Owners Nadia and Anthony Alexander hope that the directory will help promote their restaurant when they open in July.  

"Sometimes small businesses get overlooked, so it will be a bigger platform for everybody to get looked at - all Black businesses in the Lehigh Valley," said Anthony.

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