The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted black communities at a disproportionate rate. During this devastating public health crisis, Black business owners were forced to grapple with an economic crisis that disrupted their livelihoods and significantly undermined the financial security of the most vulnerable community members.
A recent H&R Block survey of small businesses found that 53% of Black business owners saw their revenue drop by half, compared to 37% of White owners, since the pandemic started.
“Black-owned businesses play such an important role in improving local economies and uplifting communities everywhere,” H&R Block Vice President of Small Business Ian Hardman said in a statement. “Clearly there’s a grave need to support small business owners, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic.”
It’s no secret that the restaurant industry in Jamaica Plain was one of the most heavily impacted industries during the pandemic with many owners forced to cut staff, reduce capacity and, in many cases, close indoor dining for long periods.
In order to start boosting a return to Black-owned small businesses the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition, founded by Nia Grace and Royal C. Smith, who owns District 7 Tavern in Roxbury, launched Boston Black Restaurant Month in honor of the Juneteenth Holiday.
The Juneteenth Holiday commemorates the ending of slavery in the U. S. and is celebrated each year on June 19. The holiday gives the community at large a chance to learn about the positive contributions African Americans have made to society and the Coalition’s event hopes to bring more people back to Black-owned restaurants throughout Boston.
Throughout the month of June Bostonians can celebrate food, culture, and community with Boston’s Black-owned restaurants.
“Discover the traditional flavors that proudly showcase a rich and resourceful heritage,” the Coalition said in a statement. “Experience the hospitality of over 70 eateries and cocktail bars while enjoying a variety of specials, promotions, and events throughout the month of June. Treat your taste buds and share in our history by planning a visit today.”
In Jamaica Plain restaurants featured throughout the month of June are Blue Nile Restaurant at 389 Centre St. and Jamaica Mi Hungry at 225 Centre St.
Blue Nile is a cozy restaurant that serves up delicious authentic Ethoipian cuisine that has made the Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” several times.
Jamaica Mi Hungry started off as a widely popular Boston food truck and recently opened its first brick and mortar location here in Jamaica Plain on Centre Street. The restaurant serves up Jamaican gems like jerk chicken are a must try here. The owners used their food truck to deliver food and supplies to residents during the pandemic.
You can check out the full dining guide of Black-owned restaurants across Boston at BostonBlackRestaurants.com.
“Our businesses play a critical role in community and economic development,” said the Coalition. “Highlighting this we seek to ensure a prolonged future for our black-owned institutions.”