PALMDALE – Antelope Valley couple, Tony Bradford and Laneay London, has started a movement to rebuild a healthy and wealthy Black community through strong relationships and now through establishing better business relations.
Through their organization, Black Love Monthly, the two are rallying African Americans locally and nationwide to return to their roots and buy Black.
“Our mission is to reunite the Black community one relationship at a time,” explained Bradford. “If we could restore our relationships, a lot of things that seem insurmountable now will be a piece of cake later on.”
An educational counselor, a father and community leader, Bradford says he spawned the idea of healing the Black community after recognizing the amount of social ills stemming from racism that have stunted growth and development.
With Black Love Monthly and its new brainchild, Re-Occupying The Black Wall Street, the couple plans to restore the African American economy, one business at a time.
“We are going to have round table discussions and compound everyone’s ideas and come up with a pledge, a commitment to raise awareness of spending and buying Black,” Bradford said. “Last year was the 90th anniversary of the burning down of Black Wall Street (Greenwood, Okla.) and me and Laneay wanted to hold a candle light vigil to remember it.”
To the couple’s surprise, most people they talked to about it didn’t know what Black Wall Street was.
Around 1908, the African American community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Okla. was established. The town consisted of everything a functioning city would need, including doctors offices, post offices, libraries, schools, grocery stores, a newspaper – all black owned.
Greenwood became known as the Black Wall Street. But the success of the town was shattered when neighboring Whites reportedly grew jealous and burned down the town on May 31, 1921 with the help of city officials and law enforcement. More than 1,000 successful Black businesses were burned to ashes, and families and businesses were left in shambles.
London, a social worker by trade, pointed out that survival for African Americans had everything to do with strong relationships and an unwavering philosophy of recycling Black dollars.
“Black Wall Street was a self-sufficient Black community that was annihilated by their fellow statesmen,” she said, explaining that the goal is to return to that same practice and generate solutions to an ailing community.
“Our movement has nothing to do with ostracizing anyone or making someone feel left out. If you love a Black person, you would appreciate where they come from and embrace what that is…. Don’t get me wrong, we are all multicultural, but every culture in the world has a foundational culture.”
London added that it’s important that the Black community embrace its origins by first loving self in all aspects of life, including business.
Re-Occupying The Black Wall Street will host monthly meetings starting Friday, Jan. 13 at Wingstop in Palmdale. Meetings will begin at 5 p.m.
The group plans to support Black businesses one Friday every month for a year, and share how they can recycle Black dollars. Everyone is welcome to attend and encouraged to brings ideas, resources, and money to patronize the host business.
Bradford hopes to introduce savings and investing plans to the group as time goes on.
So far the couple has recruited at least 10 A.V. residents and at least 40 nationwide.
For more information, visit www.blacklovemonthly.com.