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Business as Usual: Greenwood Week Founders

Business as Usual

Please tune in as we welcome Khamil Scantling and Samantha Black, Founders of Greenwood Week Pittsburgh, the one and only minority business conference that provides a guided path to running a successful business or brand. 

Khamil and Samantha founded Greenwood Week when they were each seeking help as entrepreneurs with their own businesses and realized there was nothing in Pittsburgh dedicated solely to helping Black-owned businesses and Black professionals succeed. 

 

 

 

Transcription: 

Good afternoon, everyone. This is Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council kicking off another week of business as usual, I can't believe we're almost at the end of February. But we are. And today is no exception. We really have two great guests today, then I'm very excited that they're on the show with us. And I think we're gonna get into some really important discussions. We have a chat and the chat is there for you to ask questions. We've muted everyone's microphones so that we try not to hear the noise that's in the background. And I promise somewhat that my dogs will behave. So I want to give a shout out to Huntington bank, Huntington bank has been a partner with us right from the onset. And they were one of the most active SBA lenders in our region, they're very active in the community. And the tech community matters to them a whole bunch, as well as many, many issues in terms of their civic engagement, and leadership. 40 by 80, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pittsburgh tech Council. And that is our nonprofit that actually allows us to work on many things that are important to the region, including workforce development and entrepreneurship. You're going to hear more from us in terms of apprenticeships and some other things in the near future from that group. But now I'm going to pass the baton quickly to my partner in crime on many of the storytelling opportunities at Shawn kersting. He's vice president of all things media and marketing at the tech Council. And he's going to talk about a new sponsor for this week. But he's also going to talk about some surprises.

big surprises. We are fired up this week for business as usual, because we are partnering with work scape and no to more than one business as usual viewer, a home office makeover, we're tired of working on top of cardboard boxes and books to raise our computers to the right levels and so forth. So do you send us a picture of your horrid workspace, your inefficient workspace, email it to design at work scape inc.com we'll put that in the chat. And you will be in the running to be awarded a home office makeover which would be announced this Friday. And you got to be here on Friday in order to resolve fries. So we're really excited. Total makeover,

total Total Home Office makeover,

pretty heavy duty. They say there's desks and some furniture involved. So it should be really, really cool.

Oh, that's really fun. That's great. But none of none of the staff at the tech council can submit for that. No. So don't get any ideas. Johnson I will not believe

in books or right where they're holding my computer up. It's perfect.

Thank you. Thank you so much. So now we are going to and you can put that in the link. We'll put that in the link. So everyone can have a chance to submit their their pictures. You can see this is my home office behind me. I don't think that's all fine. So I want to jump in right now and introduce two women. And I am very excited about them. Joining us as well as honored to them to join us and one is Khamil scantling she is going to introduce herself I've had a chance to get to know her a little bit over the year. And I think you're going to be really impressed with the work that she's done in cocoa printer, which she has started as well as a partnership and leadership in Greenwood week. And I am not going to steal that Thunder because both she and our co guest is Samantha black. She told me I can call her Sam is a partner with Khamil in this initiative in Homewood week. And Greenwood week, excuse me in Greenwood week. And they're going to talk they're going to talk about what that the work that they do, and where they sit in terms of seeing how we're doing in our community and all the things that are related to black enterprises, businesses prosperity, and equity. They both have a very important seat at the table in terms of understanding these things. And I can tell you, Khamil and I have had lots of a few conversations that have been that have helped me shift some of my own thinking in terms of pragmatism and equity and prosperity. So with no further ado, I'm going to bring them both to the forefront but first I'm going to ask Khamil to introduce herself and just talk a little bit about herself. So hi, Khamil. Hi. Hi

Audrey.

So much for being here. Now. Really. How are you?

I'm not bad. It is Monday little groggy. cure is not working so coffee is on hold, but happy to be here. Nonetheless.

I would have sent you some coffee. I know that all you have to do is tell me they can deliver No, no. Well, I know that you live in it up. So so just tell us a little bit about yourself

about myself, I long story short, and I will consider myself a philanthropist, kind of a Lover of Mankind more or less. The work that I do is based in advocacy for black businesses. I found a cocoa printer and 2015 via social media and then transitioned into a business after lots of nudging from the community, right. So, cocoa printer is currently a black business consultancy. And the cornerstone of that is the cocoa printer directory. So I highlight black businesses via the directory, but also speaking to people such as yourself, other organization leaders around how to make sure that there is access for black business owners to scale to any position that they would want to attain in their entrepreneurial journeys. Also making sure that I foster partnerships like the one that Samantha and I have to create Greenwood week, making sure that people have access just to the information, just so they can make informed choices about what they do. And that pretty much is where the bulk of my effort goes. And in regards to our professional capacity.

And so how can people access? How can people access the directory, we just put the link out there for Coco pin,

the link is right in the chat. It's Coco premier.com. So that co CEO, a PR e in E u r.com. And that's where you'll find the directory. Little bit of information about myself. But you know, that's where you if you wanted to find a black business to patronize today, you could go to the directory and find something. That's great.

That's great. So let's, let's quickly toggle over to Sam. Hi, Sam. Thank you so much for being with us. Can you talk a little bit about yourself and then talk about your partnership with Khamil? Yes,

I'm sorry, she won't leave me alone.

Okay. My name

is My name is Samantha block. I am the CEO of silo PGH. I am originally from Jamaica. I am a military veteran. I'm also a parent. I do a lot of work around arts, culture and socio economics to change the kind of premise about how we navigate cultural spaces about how important it is how how important economics are in cultural spaces, and how cultural spaces do change the face of the local economy.

To have you connect, and tell me what the nature is of that relationship, tell us tell us that. Yeah, so

essentially, we were looking, you know, as small business owners, as women, as you know, black entrepreneurs, we were looking for a space that would be able to teach us, you know, how to be a business, how to be an entrepreneur, and we were unable to find something that catered to our needs, not only culturally, but environmentally, you know, all of the aspects that we were kind of struggling in, right, like financially, we didn't have necessarily the wherewithal to go through the quote, the cohorts, we didn't have, you know, we just didn't have the bandwidth to do the other programs, right. And I think a lot of the time, there are organizations that mean very well, but they don't take into consideration the socio economic factors that other people have to go through to get to the access, right, like there are opportunities abound, obviously, in Pittsburgh. But getting to the opportunities is where the where the break is, right, so opportunity does not equal access. And that's what we were trying to create. So we kind of, you know, created these classes, and we did them I think it was like one every two weeks or like one a month. And then we scaled up to the conference style. So we tried to make it as as we grew, we grew the conference as well because we realized that we are the people that we are serving and I think that's very important in leadership right? Like if you don't see yourself in your clientele or your base, then you don't have necessarily the eye right like the eye to see how how limited their resources are or how they're navigating their how they're navigating their day to day live. So

Well, let me ask you both this let's let's just dig just a little bit deeper because I think you said something, Sam, that's really important. You've said a few things, obviously but one of the things I'm Wondering is when you said, you know, there's lots of organizations out there that are quote unquote, doing this work, right, in terms of entrepreneurial support, etc. What is missing? What are some of the key points? And Khamil, you can jump in as well, I just wanted to. I wanted to go there, Sam presented that. Yeah, what are the missing,

I found that people can't see themselves. And it's hard to trust, the advice of someone who you may not feel connected to. Right. So if someone is saying something to you, like, I've done it, you can do it too. But it's like, I don't know if you really live the same life that I live. So I can't necessarily trust the advice that you give me because we come from two completely different places in life, right? You don't understand that I am a parent and I have to get up at a certain time in the morning, and I'm not available at 8am for these particular classes, or that in order to support my family, I have to work a certain number of jobs. And I'm not available during these times. So I have to choose between feeding my kids at 7pm or sitting up for this. So it's like, I've noticed that there is some disconnect between relating to the people that you serve, which is part of what Sam was saying about it. It's hard to serve people who you can't identify with because you don't understand what they need.

Okay, okay, good. I didn't want to miss that opportunity for you to give an example. So let's talk a little bit about Greenwood wheat, the history of that I think it's important for people on this call to to understand where Greenwood week emanated from and why this name is so important. So who either of you can jump in?

Yeah, I got it. Um, so, Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, what's the size of black Wall Street and it was essentially overnight destroyed. Right? It is one of the most famous examples of black people existing outside of the government that does not serve them, right. The government essentially letting people who were jealous, they they hated, they hated the progression of black people. And they essentially destroyed it overnight. The entire the entire city was raised. I mean, like everything burned to the ground. People murdered in the streets, you know, things like that. But the the main green, we were struggling, the first name that we came up with, was minding. It was I think it was minding my black business or something like that. But we almost got sued. So we were trying to find a new name. And we essentially came up with, you know, Greenwood weak because we realized that not there's not many examples anymore of black enterprise, right? And there are a lot of, you know, myths around black people taking ownership or black people excelling in economics. I think a lot of the times I've run into the argument that you know, you need to it's the bootstrap mentality, right like that. That's like the main argument as to why black people are not a dance, when in actuality, 50 years ago, we did do that. And then we were raised, like, entire neighborhoods, and just an example is in Pittsburgh, right. There was a little Haiti from I think it is the Doubletree to the St. Benedict. Church. So Pittsburgh had its own regional Greenwood, right, it had its own black Wall Street and then overnight, city council member participants of the NAACP. There were several large people, families that got together and prominent families that now running billion dollar organizations. They decided overnight. They decided overnight, I'm sorry, they decided overnight that they did not like they not

hang out for a minute. Are you?

Okay, so, okay.

So So Khamil, can you pick up where you left off? Yeah, yeah. So

what what Sam is saying is the significance of Greenwood and using that name is that we want it to indicate to people that this is not outside of the realm of possibility. This happened in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It happened right here in the city of Pittsburgh. There are forces that actively worked against that. It's not an inherent issue with you. It's not that you are not capable. We've done it. We did it. We did it 50 years ago. We did it 100 years before that. We did. It's been done. It's just a matter of making sure that there are also barriers to protect you from what was able to destroy you before, right? So we just wanted to give people this reminder that this thing can be done. We've done it before we keep doing it, right. And now it's our turn to start to build that legacy for ourselves and the generations that follow us.

So, so I love that you kept that name. And I think it's really important for people to remind that this has happened in not too distant past. And I really appreciate your fortitude on it. Talk about Greenwood week, because the premise of that and now what it's morphed into, and the fact that you actually have pivoted, you have to pivot this year. Right, like many people have, but you persevere.

Yeah. So the weekend so there?

We can I start off by saying real quick. Persevere is a really interesting word to use. Like, I think we, we made it like everybody else by the skin of our teeth. And what I was saying earlier that we are the people that we serve, like we are one of the affected organizations of COVID-19. So like perseverance, on your end, right, it looks like we serve the communities that we were hoping to serve. But there was a significant cost that was not financial to us.

Okay. Yeah. I mean, so if

you can keep answering that question, you can jump in.

Yeah, keep it up. So Sam, so that's, that's a good point to push on me. In terms of saying that this, this wasn't necessarily perseverance. And yeah, yeah.

So I think it's important to note, right, like the main responders for COVID-19. Were community organizations, community members, it was not the organizations that come in, and they provide services, right, like it was the community run organizations, the 501, the small 501, c three, you know, the, the, the, it's literally community stores that were able to not only provide food, they provide mass, they dried hand sanitizers.

Sorry. So but it was essentially all these community members that we've worked with that we, you know, we try to serve with Greenwood week, so that they would be able to scale. And then we were one of the affected companies or the affected organizations that we were trying to serve. Right. So everybody had this issue where they were in need, but they put aside their needs to serve somebody who was less, even though we are considered wait. I mean, our budget is significantly, like, smaller than I think anybody can this conversation, right? Like, I think I want to put that into perspective, like we were able to serve, what we were able to give $500 grants, how many 2025 25 people so 25 people, right? 50 people, 50 people, so we were able to give 50 different businesses who then turned around and, you know, did whatever they had to do, whether they have to purchase materials, whether they had to know whether they had to do cohorts, whether whatever they had to do to survive that $500 was very instrumental in making sure that they survived COVID-19 even though we were at the same time trying to survive COVID-19. And I think that speaks to the resilience, it's not even perseverance, it's the resilience of these neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, predominantly black neighborhoods, because most of the neighborhoods that are living below economic despair, living within economic disparities are predominantly black neighborhoods. And that is not a that is not like a circumstantial, right, that is purely systematic. So whenever we did bring would be this year 2020. It was virtual, right? We utilize a black owned platform, that is sorry, we utilize a black owned platform, that is the essentially the same as zoom, right? It's called wolfen. Tech. We hire I think it was 98%. Besides one time that we use zoom, and then one DJ, everything was black. Oh, right. Like so we and since there was no opportunity for us to utilize the caterers this year, right? Like we use a lot of different black caterers we bought gift cards instead. Right like so we picked all these different black owned restaurants and we purchase gift cards. We gave. We gave them to the participants. We also provided food boxes because there were a lot of people that were in need of food. We provided the gift bags as well. We purchased from we purchase digital planners because we were unable to Every one, I think, essentially, we virtualized everything besides the gift bag thing, actually, though we did, because we mailed everybody, everybody who was unable to physically pick up their gift bag, they were able to sign up and get it mailed to them.

meal, can you jump to Khamil for a second, talk about the kinds of things that the kinds of offerings that you have during that week, I think that's really important for people to understand. So not only did you do everything that Samantha talked about, to make sure that it was accommodating and access, talk about what you what people actually learn, and being provided support for.

So we cater the classes to the the environment that we're in. So a lot of 2020 dealt in, that, you know, the buzzword of the year pivoting, how to transition your services from physical and person products to digital products. Alright, so we always cover being in the right text identity, making sure that you're filing correctly with your taxes, making sure you have access to financial help. So people who can do your accounting, we always keep the CPA around and bring them in to talk about the finance part of things. We keep an attorney who talks about the legal side of things, we always always always incorporate the cultural aspect around post traumatic slave disorder, and how that can get in the way of people's mental blocks when it comes to entrepreneurship. And keep people afraid of going to their full potential because society has really put put a lot in front of you. But they're those are some of the staple things that we always have. We bring in people to help this year, we talked about, you know, people who had retail businesses and how to, you know, price your products, how to make a sale, right? When you when you have a ton of inventory leftover. How do you put your things on sale to get rid of that inventory and not lose out on any of your profit. But we cater our classes to the needs of the constituents and ourselves. Oh, sorry, I swear we go to Greenwood. We with notepads ourselves like okay, I needed to know this too. So let me pay attention. And again, I think that makes it very interactive. And I think people tend to trust us more, because we get as much out of Greenwood week as we put in it. I know that people see that because they've mentioned it. So yeah.

So how can we help? And I don't mean that in some just sort of glossed over way. You see that in here. Ingrid cook is asking, you know, how are we measuring the success? How can local tech companies support you, you hear some great green will.

So Sam and I are still working out the kinks with this particular aspect of partnerships, right? Because there are large organizations that can contribute significant amount of money. If that's where you are, then that's where you are, right? But there are people like Angry who can be community partners, right? Ingrid is a black woman. She's a tech founder. She has a tool, a piece of technology that assists people in making life more convenient. When you're in an automobile accident, like, you know. So those we have this like community partnership that we're trying to work out, how do we bring people in who are also doing work that shows the advancement in the black community? How do we bring them in, right? So this is something that we can continue to talk about. But again, for the larger companies, the money is important. We need to be able to pay these people who we're bringing in, we make it a point when we talk about equitable growth, we want to make sure that we're paying people for their time. I think a lot of the times people are asked to volunteer because people are in need. That's true. They are in need but so are you right, you still have bills to pay, you still have meets that need to be met. So the money part of it is a big deal. We need people to advocate for us in rooms where we always are not in that's also a big thing. So mentioned Greenwood. We when you're at fancy dinners, and at the Duquesne club, I don't want to go to the Duquesne club personally, but if you're there, by all means, feel free to mention it. Sam, do you have anything else that you could think of? Um,

I mean, I think you can determine, yeah, I think all of us know the issues that Pittsburgh is one of the major issues transportation, right? If people are unable to physically be in your space, then that I mean, your resources are null and void, then, you know, providing food for people. Again, Khamil had mentioned, if I have to choose between feeding my children and learning how to do accounting, I'm going to absolutely choose to feed my children. In this aspect. Poverty is a distraction, right poverty. is absolutely a distraction for a lot of people in our region. I think people underestimate how many people are living below poverty lines in Pittsburgh, in the city of Pittsburgh. There are. I mean, as I was, as I was saying before about the the black Wall Street that was in the downtown area where the Doubletree is right, those people did not just move to Chicago, right. Like those people ended up moving into the hill district, those people who were in the hill district ended up moving to East liberty, those people who were in East Liberty ended up moving to Penn hills, right, it created this cycle of poverty, because those neighborhoods are unable to handle that many people at one time. So then you see affordable housing, you see deteriorating housing, you see all of these things, it was literally a ripple effect that we have to deal with. And ignoring the fact that, you know, our city did this to a large I mean, 1000s of black people, right to ignore the fact that that happened, is just irresponsible. So if we are going to actually talk about, you know, changing or helping Greenwood week, right, you have to see, what what do you think the city needs? Right? It's usually very simple. Like, do I have daycare? Do I have daycare to be able to attend your event? Do you have comfortable seating for mothers, mothers and children? Do you have food? do you have? Can I have a bus pass? Right. And I think we underestimate like what we did with $50,000. Last year, people are people are doing less with a quarter of a million dollars, right? Like so I think not only do we deserve to have a larger budget, but black Pittsburgh deserves to have that larger budget, because we have proved time and again, that we know how, where and why to give that money. Because if you have resources, and you are not properly doing the research, or giving it to somebody who knows what they're doing, and I'm not saying that anybody doesn't know what they're doing, but again, we are community members, we are black people, we are black women, we are black entrepreneurs, which is the largest growing demographic, right? Black women as entrepreneurs is the largest growing demographic. And so if you are trying to make change, and you do not want to take direction from us, you don't want to make change that I mean, that's just that's just absolutely what it is. You don't want to make change, which is fine. But do not, you know, like, just don't waste your resources. Just it, it would be a waste way for him to do that. Because that's another part of it. So, okay.

There's something that Sam said that made me made my ears a little hot, right? Thinking about the fact that we do all these things for people, some folks might see it as a hand out, like why should I give you a bus pass to come to a business conference? It's accountability is what it is, because it's not like people are in this predicament by their own doing. These were things that have been done to folks that think that ripple effect, right? And this is something and I know, a lot of you who are facilitating the call, a lot of people who are listening might be able to resonate with this, if you are black, if you are indigenous, if you are Jewish, right? They try to tell people to forget about slavery, right? Forget about all the things that happened 400 years ago, when it wasn't 400 years ago, it wasn't even 100 years ago. It was 30 years ago, when they displace people from the hill district. Right? That that is the systemic problem that continues to affect people today. So giving folks a bus pass, it's not giving them a handout, right? It's making up for what you've done. It's making up for the thing. And when I say you, I don't mean individual people, I'm talking about organizations, the same organizations that came in built on top of that piece of land that they took from the hill district, you all are most accountable, right? You displace those families, you have a responsibility to make good on what you've done. So it's not a handout. It's retribution. Right. It's reparations is what it is. And people need to look at it that way.

So So Khamil, even if I just ask one thing, because we have so much to talk about, and I and I want to make sure that we get this in in the time that we have allocated. Do you have Greenwood week is one week, what about the rest of the year? What are you doing the rest of the year? And how can we help in a material way? Because there are people who are writing in here and they're talking about partnerships. They want to know how to help it, it's money. I mean, that's really what I'm hearing it's money. It's access to the entrepreneurs, helping the entrepreneurs get customers, right and get the capital that they need on the terms That they can have access to. I mean, that's sort of what I'm hearing and that I've heard from my conversations with you, Khamil, are you fundraising right now? All year?

Sure enough, Sam, do you want to take this?

Yeah, sure. So tangibly speaking, right. And I think, I'm not sure if anybody's on the call who like, sponsors, I can't really see all of them. But we explain to our sponsors where the money is going, right. Like we always, you know, tell you like, who were paying? Well, we don't tell you who we're paying, but what we're paying for, right, like we pay, we literally pay everybody that participates in the conference, the teachers, you know, all of those things. But think about the things that you need to run your organization. That's what we need, right? Like, if you're an accountant, we need an accountant. If you have office space, we need office space, all of the things that you need on a day to day, a coffee maker, we need a coffee maker, like literally all of the things that you have in your office, we don't have, right like we are to, like entrepreneurs working from home, creating this large scale business off of literally nothing. So we need $250,000 to be able to pay people we need money to, you know, pay for food for pay for bus passes. Like if you are able to give us bus passes. For attendees, that's fine. If you're able to give grants because we we gave the $500 grants, if you can do two of those, that's fine. If you do three, if you could do all of them, that's fine, right? Like everything. If you think about everything that you need, as your organization to serve those people that you're hoping to serve, we need that if you you need a designer, we need a designer, if you need someone who writes your newsletters, we also need that, like if I think people under it's literally just me and Khamil, there's nobody else. So all of the things that we have accomplished. It's just off of me and Khamil like there is nobody else like stepping in to help us. Like for free, like we have to pay for the flyers, we have to pay for the mugs, we have to pay for the shirts, like we have to pay for all of that. And that's where that goes, it's to create this space for for people who are told that they don't deserve that, right. Like we believe in providing quality for people who cannot afford quality. And I think that's like, capitalism kind of gives you that concept that poor people do not deserve better, because they simply cannot afford it. Like when people go to give homeless people food and they give them expired food, that's still not okay, I don't care. I don't care what community that you're serving, they deserve a quality that you yourself would verify like you yourself would take if you would not eat it, do not give it to somebody else. If you would not utilize that service, do not give it to somebody else. That's all we're trying to provide. We're trying to exist outside of the confines of this thought process that black people, queer folk, or poor people are deserving of less simply because they come from nothing. Okay,

so in the immediate though, I did want to say this to me, we are looking for space. So that would be something that would be extremely helpful if anyone has access to space where we can hold events. And this would be in the indefinite future. somewhere we can do year round events, that would be extremely helpful in the immediate. So space that we can acquire, or use temporarily until we acquire space.

So at the tech

Council, how serious about the coffee Baker? Yeah, I

clearly because listen at the tech Council, we will circle back with you to see what we can do to provide provide you with that answer. But what else? Is there a list of apps that you have that maybe we could circulate and see if people that would sign up and be willing to contribute to that? Is that a good process?

I mean, we have a pitch deck that's always good to circulate with folks. Because also thinking about what we do, we understand that there are people are not going to be able to provide us with certain answers. We have those already. We just need the means to kind of manifest the things that we have going on. There are some ways that we could use people in an advisory capacity. Just people who have seen things on a larger scale because sometimes Sam and I undervalue ourselves, right, we don't always know how much we need, we think or we we do it based off of what we could do. And we do that a lot of trade through trade and barter, right? Like we can get something catered for $10 a plate but that's the relationship that we made. But ideally we'd like to be able to pay the caterer, their actual price for the plates. So having people who advise us on what we should ask for for payment, what we should do, you know, making sure that we are are valuing ourselves appropriately, that is also helpful.

Okay, well, you can see people are writing things, Lou is talking about the shine registry, which is a place for entrepreneurs to ask for volunteer kinds of things. But you're also saying, look, let's face it, we need money. We want to be paid for the work that we do just like anyone else. And this really is around equity access, and prosperity. So I can tell you that at the tech Council, Brian's been texting me with some ideas. And I think some of them are really doable, I want us to do our fair share, in making sure that we're being we're actually being helpful not lip service, but we're actually being materially helpful, we will share your pitch deck, if you think that's the best way to sort of articulate what you know, the work is that you do and what the assets are, and they're happy, we're happy to do that as well. And I think people who are listening on this call can reach out to Khamil and reach out to Samantha they're not hard to find, and if they're real ways for you to be actually additive, because I think it's not just being consulted, taury and advisory, you're saying you really want additive material impact of what I'm hearing? Is there something as we wrap this up? Is there something that both of you wish that I would have asked or something that you wish that you would have been able to convey? before we sign off?

Um, um, I

I will, I would like to say that, um, so I appreciate, you know, I appreciate the tech Council, I just want to None of us is are doing right, like, we inherited this society, right? Like, it's, none of us did any of this, right. But what we can do is help not to progress it, because this is not as COVID-19 show. It literally, it took one disease to derail our entire economy, right? Like it is decimated, businesses get the entire society, right, like down to transportation. And I think that kind of we inherited this and so we have to take care of it. Like we have to fix it. Right. And what we're doing is trying to meet racism, you know, systemic oppression with the same force, right? Like you have to meet it with the same force, you cannot, you cannot come to it and be like, can you please stop? Can you just settle down a little bit? You know what I'm saying? Like, it's, we just have to meet it with the same aggressive force that is pressing on all of our neighborhoods, and our local economy is way more important. Well, in my, in my eyes, right? our local economy moves billions of dollars every single day, right? several different neighborhoods are moving billions of dollars. I would like to see that in a black community for once I would like to see in Pittsburgh is history that one of these black neighborhoods are moving billions of dollars and keeping black faces, right, like keeping black faces because culture does make money. Culture is the beginning parts of making money. When you go to a neighborhood and you try to reform it, you try to change it, you know, whether or not you're gentrifying it like artists come first, right? It's it's the people who are selling street food. It's the people who are selling art. Those are the people that bring in tourism, those are the people that bring interest. Those are the people that bring new faces, like people want to live where lively artists are right, like and so all we're asking is that you cater right as a as a unit Pittsburgh, we do not do justice to those changemakers those innovators, those people who were here before the larger organizations were just like, yes, let's capitalize on this idea. There are people in our city right now selling art, selling their artwork, to be able to eat dinner, right? I don't want that to be somebody's reality. I don't want any child not having a tablet, right? Like you can't think you are unable to live without your phone, your tablet, your computer, whatever. Right? That's that's, that should be the same. That should be the standard for everybody else in our city. But it's not because we're simply not taking responsibility for something that we inherited. And I know it's not fair. I know it's not fair, right? Like I absolutely know that but we have no choice. Either you want to be a part of the change, or you're going to be left behind and a lot of organizations are finding out that simply because they did not put their black clientele first. They're not going to survive after the pandemic because diversity is innovation.

So thank you, Sam. We've run we've run a little bit longer, but I thought this was important. I see that Khamil put a link out there, right? If anyone wants to donate, they can then use a for profit or non for profit.

We are transitioning to nonprofit just by the work that we do. Someone asked earlier in the chat too, how much are the classes last year, they were free 2020, you just had to register, because we just know that people need the things and we don't want not being able to afford them to be a barrier to them not getting them. So we're just I mean, just the way that we move, we should probably be nonprofit.

Okay, that's great. And so if people want to reach out to you, I know we could have gone longer, but we've actually gone longer than we normally do. So I just want to thank both of you Khamil's are anything that you want to say in terms of wrapping up.

Just to wrap up, I need people to understand that this is Black History Month, right? Black History is American history. Black people are Americans, right. And when you talk about this idea of Pittsburgh being the most livable city, it is not that for black people, and it won't be that at all, until you prioritize black people and people who have been wronged. In this region in general, we just lost a pretty cool CEO from partner for work. I'm pretty sure it's for cultural reason. So you know, just thinking about that you have to Pittsburgh has to do a better job of taking care of its black communities, its indigenous communities, it's immigrant communities. It's poor communities, because you're going to continue to lose people. The city is shrinking. So I think people have to be very mindful of that. You know, doing doing, doing good work for black folks does not mean that you take food out of other people's mouths. There's plenty of food to go around. Oh,

yeah. Well, I want to I want to thank you both. I think we've put your links out there your contact info. Samantha was nice meeting your little one. At the beginning of the show, I think you handled that well with her running around and making a lot of comments. I appreciate that. It is not easy to juggle, juggle all of this. So Samantha Blatt. So Samantha black, she sent her info out meal, she shared her info, we have people who are asking questions on here and want to help we will not be strangers to you both. So I want to thank you both for taking the time with us today. And then Jonathan, who is on for tomorrow? Laura, we

have Julie let from the from sustainable Pittsburgh stopping by the executive director. Okay. Great organization. excited to have them on.

Excellent. All right. Thanks, Khamil. Thank you, Sam. Everyone, stay safe. We'll see you here tomorrow, same time.

Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai