13  MAY Staff Report


These days, diversity and equity are at the forefront of people’s minds—especially when it comes to entrepreneurship.


Around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, spaces are cropping up where women and minority entrepreneurs can take their ideas to the next level. From accelerators and incubators to specialized angel groups, it sometimes feels as though there has never been such a promising time to be a minority entrepreneur. But the numbers tell a different story. 


Access to the entrepreneur space is still incredibly tilted.


Today, sexism, racism, and homophobia continue to plague the startup ecosystem and hinders many wannabe entrepreneurs. And for members of the LGBTQ community, a fraught question arises: is it a good idea to be out while moving through the world of entrepreneurship?

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According to a recent study from StartOut, a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ entrepreneurs and businesses, 37% of LGBTQ founders choose to remain closeted while raising capital for their venture.

Nick Wade is CEO of Renaissance Covington, a local organization focused on revitalizing the urban core of Covington, Kentucky. A Kentucky native and growing up in the Central, Nick has brought to the agency a sense of urgency to create a business landscape in Covington that more represents its residents.  


Nick Wade, Renaissance Covington

“I am absolutely cognizant of what the data says about the challenges I will face when it comes to raising capital,” Nick told Blackout Cincinnati. “That is one of the reasons that we are excited to be accepting applications for our upcoming MORTAR! Covington class. As Covington continues to grow and develop, we, at Renaissance Covington, believe it is imperative to place a focus on inclusive development.”


Nick also understands the varying access and opportunity that is afforded to people from minority backgrounds. 

“We know that there is a great LGBTQ population here in Covington,” Wade says. “And we know that a program like MORTAR!, a program geared to helping marginalized entrepreneurs, will help them create a more vibrant and inclusive Covington.” 

MORTAR! co-founder, Allen Woods, now the organization’s executive director, still holds true to the belief that MORTAR is well placed to support entrepreneurs who have traditionally been overlooked, but also realizes that how MORTAR’s assistance is visualized may have to pivot in the current coronavirus climate. 

“COVID-19 has been painful for a lot of our entrepreneurs,” says Allen. “Many of them are still VERY active and operating their businesses, but they need a bit of assistance.”

MORTAR helped to shift the paradigm in entrepreneurship when they began offering innovative business classes designed to help urban entrepreneurs start or grow their dream business which targeted the area’s under-served and underrepresented population. 

Application has been extended past May 5.


Click here for more information about how to apply for MORTAR! Covington.


 29  APRIL Staff Report


K.A. Simpson is on a mission to change how small businesses give back to their communities. In 2004, the entrepreneurs opened SparkLight Creative Group, located in downtown Covington, Ky, just outside Cincinnati. Named for K.A.’s love of everything creative, the self-published author developed a small, but innovative personal and professional consulting firm that provides customers with more than a helping hand. It’s also helping to build community while combating stigma.

This year marks its 16th year which K.A. will honor community advocates making contributions to the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky community.


While K.A. understands the importance of giving back, for him, providing education and building community has always gone hand-in-hand. Blackout Cincinnati recently sat down with K.A. by way of zoom to discuss the impact of his creation.

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What got you started in entrepreneurship?

K.A.: I am a very entrepreneurial person, and I know a lot of folks who are the same, but they did not have the tools to succeed or where to get them on a small scale without having to take a multi-week class. When I started my company, finding customers was challenging. But when I meet a challenge, I tackle it head on. Also, I wanted to build community through entrepreneurship. Initially, it was just teaching computer classes at the local library. But here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky…folks wanted more. So I said, “I guess I am opening a business.” And I went to work developing a line of products and services. 


How did you decide on what services to offer?


K.A.: They are products and services that folks were calling for, but could not afford. Take for instance business plan writing. There were folks out there that knew how to provide a service like cutting hair, or create a product. But to get additional funding to make their business grow, financial providers wanted to know more about the back end of their business; how it was operated and the financial prospectus of their endeavour...that’s where I step in. 


Of course, the name has special meaning as well.

K.A.: So, truth be told, the name has gone through a few overhauls over the years. Originally, it was called Ion Consultants then in 2010, I changed the name to BookMark Enterprise when we emphasized publishing unknown authors. This all gave birth to the name SparkLight Creative Group, spurring on the idea that each client becomes a network of similar-minded individuals aiming towards a common goal.   

Opening your own business must bring stress to your relationships. How do you manage that?

K.A.: I guess you could say that. I've been single for over ten years and only been on a few dates since then. I'd like to blame it in the game, so I don't blame the player. 

Where did you grow up? And what was your experience coming out?

K.A.: I was born in Newport, KY but grew up in Covington, KY and I always knew I was different. I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong in my family or in my community. I just felt like an outsider, not knowing why. As I got older, I came to understand it was because I was gay. Ironically, it wasn't until I entered the Army that I found my place. I was always scholarly, so I used that as my weapon, growing up. 


You are a veteran?

K.A.: Yeah, I served from 1997 to 2001 as Korean Linguist. Then I served for two more years in the Ohio National Guard. So I got to have another set of experiences, which further distanced me from my community and my family, who still lived in Northern Kentucky. After leaving the military, I had a group of friends that kept me grounded as I re-entered the civilian world as a gay man. 


Was it worth it?


K.A.: Honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have not joined the military and stayed in school at the University of Cincinnati.  I had a full scholarship through grad school, but I was young and eager to get out and explore the world. But, the military has given me an experience that I would not trade for the world. It taught me how to speak Korean, afforded me the chance to meet some incredible people, has provided me with phenomenal health care and I get to eat free at Olive Garden every Veterans Day. 


What are you most proud you have accomplished?

K.A.: I would say that I am most proud of being able to help build community in a way that I see fit. While owning my small business I have worked for large for profit companies that were more worried about the bottom line than really helping the people they serve. I am proud to work with small organizations and individuals that are helping to build a safer, more vibrant community and I am especially proud that I am in the position to help them in any way that I see fit. I no longer hold others accountable for my happiness. 

What has been the impact of SparkLight Creative Group so far?

K.A.: The visibility and the power that entrepreneurship has is number one. I also must mention some of our former clients who have gone on to great things, like BlaCk OWned Outerwear and BlaCk Coffee Lounge; Left Bank Coffeehouse, Sloane Fashion Boutique, Papi Chulo Radio and Cactus Pear restaurant. We have also helped organizations like The City of Covington, The Center for Great Neighborhoods, Northern Kentucky Community Action Agency, the Lincoln William Grant Scholarship Foundation and St. James A.M.E. Church;  helping them to continue their success is life changing. 

You’re seen as a Cincinnati “power gay,” how does that make you feel?

K.A.: I have always felt it to be a superficial title, so it was one I’d often reject. It’s not because of what I have achieved, it is because of the way we have held onto what I whole-heatedly believe in; the power of helping others. That doesn’t make a person powerful, it makes a person human. 

To learn more about K.A. visit K.A. can also be found on Twitter @kareemsimpson and Instagram @ka_simpson.  

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 11  MAR Staff Report


The 2020 Census is upon us, and will soon prove the demographic changes in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. The recent debate surrounding the Census, including the debate whether to include a citizenship question, is just one example of how the survey has come under public scrutiny. Many are also worried that people are not being represented correctly and concerned how people might respond when they receive their census instructions in the mail.

As a Black trans woman, LaShuana Dukes knows the 2020 census is important, but filling it out will mean yet another form that won’t allow the 45-year-old to correctly self-identify as a member of the LGBTQ community.

“I identify as a woman, but will have to mark myself as a man when I fill out the Census,” said the Northern Kentucky resident. “It’s just not what’s true and it's not what I want to be known as.”

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Since at least the 1990s, the National LGBTQ Task Force has pushed for more census questions that would capture the size of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. and, more specifically, even more advocates have called for a full count of the LGBTQ community, by placing a question on the US census. Though unsussesful, this year’s version will allow people living in the same household to mark themselves as same-sex partners, if applicable. In addition Black communities across the United States have historically been undercounted. 


An undercount of either of these two groups could mean the difference between an estimate from a post-enumeration survey or a demographic analysis and the official Census counts. 


In particular, an undercount poses a major problem for Black men as stated in 2015 when the New York Times ran an interactive feature called “1.5 Million Missing Black Men”. In the piece, it stated that Black men experience higher rates of incarceration and premature mortality rates, causing many of them to be “missing” in their communities. 


In other words, those living as Black AND LGBTQ had the potential of being grossly underrepresented; exemplifying a double threat. 


Today, Back and LGBTQ communities aren’t the only communities in threat of being miscounted; non-Hispanic white communities are more likely to be over-counted. This differential counting in our census means that white communities receive “more than their fair share” of resources.


In 2016, 75 members of Congress asked the Census Bureau to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the next American Community Survey, according to the bureau’s website. But the movement toward the inclusion of the questions seemed to stop when the White House administration changed from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.

One good thing about collecting data about LGBTQ residents is that it could be helpful in challenging discriminatory practices. 


By mail, phone and the internet the folks all across the nation will be able to participate in the 2020 US Census when it rolls out to households this month and there is no more important time than now to make sure you fill it out as the numbers will be used to determine how federal money is distributed and the size of each state’s congressional delegation.

For local organizations doing census outreach, it can be difficult to convince someone to engage in the process, but still they are moving forward with the charge.

The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission has started to share information about the census in neighborhood barber shops, beauty salons and at its Head Start enrollment events and plans to partner with other organizations to do outreach. In addition, they plan to send information about the census through their email lists and social media.

Dukes had known about the census, but hadn’t thought about how it affected her identity as LGBTQ. Dukes thinks back on the proposed citizenship question feeling elated that it was not added and also had concerns about how people in prison are counted.

“If we were able to indicate that we were part of the LGBTQ community in the census, I think it would prove that there are a lot more of us than people realize,” Dukes added.

Underrepresented communities, like the Black and LGBTQ communities (and the overlapping community) deserve to be accurately represented in the census. Despite the census being chronically underfunded, local outreach can help move the country toward that goal. 


*** Starting March 12, go to to complete the online census questionnaire, which is set to be open to the public through July 31.


 01  JAN K.A. Simpson


Let's just get it out there. The N-word, is one of the most known derogatory words in the American lexicon. Look, we don't even have to spell it out the entirely and you know which word we are referring to. Once a common term used to describe a Black person, this word has come to be depicted as a racial slur to the same group. 


But is that still always true? I guess it would depend on which N-word you use. 


When the last two letters of The N-word are replaced with either the letter "a", it’s magically morphed into a term of endearment between two intimate parties, usually of the same racial, and sometimes social, background. 

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Yes the latter rendition of the word stems from the former, but the former has, and continues to be deemed more destructive making the latter to be seen just as destructive in some circles. There are just some spots that don't come clean, right?


The difference in usage and spelling is important, especially here in Greater Cincinnati, one of the most segregated areas in America. Though racial segregation in neighborhoods has declined over the past several decades it remains very high.


Some Black folk recognize their inherent right to use the N-word, sans "er", due to the slavery, oppression, racism, and segregation of our ancestors, going as far as to say we've earned the right. Some do not mind letting their non-Black friends use the more familiar version of the N-word. But the more educated, the more politically aware that person is, the more likely they are to stay away from using either version of the N-word, or to let non-Black persons not-use the word in their presence. 

The N-word, with an "a" has been thrown out in my presence, among friends, for decades, without a sense of shame or despair and I don't remember the first time it was used on me. But I do remember the first time the N-word was pronounced with the "er" in a bad way towards me. It was Tuesday, June 11, 1996. 

I was a teenager riding in the car with my mom and she was trying to merge into traffic, going south on Madison Ave. in Covington, Ky. We were at the intersection of 15th Street and Madison attempting to turn into the Kroger parking lot. It seemed like one driver was going to let us over because he stopped his car with enough room to let her in, so we pulled out. At the same moment he pulls ahead, leaving us out of traffic and on the shoulder of the street so we had nowhere to go but push our way back into traffic in front of that guy. He honked his horn at us and then came up beside us and called us out of our names. Yelled it in fact. 

I did not feel the rage that I thought I would. I felt empowered because this grown man was so afraid of us that he almost hit another car while he sped away trying to rush away from us. Ignorance will do that to you.



No matter how it's used, we can all agree that it’s never appropriate for the N-word to be used in a professional setting. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and San Francisco politician Angela Alioto, both caught heat for using the N-word publically in 2019. 


In October, Cuomo used the "n-word" during a discussion about derogatory comments about Italian-Americans. He had been discussing racial slurs and stereotypes used toward Italian-Americans and African Americans during a live radio interview when he quoted the N-word.

"They used an expression, that Southern Italians were called, I believe they were saying Southern Italian Sicilians, were called quote on quote, and pardon my language, but I'm just quoting the Times, 'n***** wops,' 'n-word wops,' as a derogatory comment," he said.

Alioto, a civil rights attorney, local Democratic Party official and former San Francisco city supervisor used the N-word during a in April at a meeting while responding to a remark from an African-American woman about hearing the racial epithet in the workplace.


“Full disclosure, I’m a civil rights trial lawyer. It’s what I do. It’s the law that the word n----- in the workplace is racial harassment and racial animus. It’s a direct animus. You very rarely have direct evidence of discrimination. You very rarely have, ‘I’m not going to work with this n----- I’m not going to work with that n-----.’” Alioto went on to talk about a case she worked on against Wonderbread, where a book called “How To Kill A N-----” was found in the cafeteria. After her sixth use of the word, those in the crowd began to ask her to stop using the slur.

There have been well-founded rumors that there is film footage of Trump using the N-word from his hit show “The Apprentice” in a derogatory manner. The sad part is, that if this footage were to be released publicly, it probably won’t change anyone’s opinion of him. His supporters will love home more for it and his haters will hate him more.  Which leads to the fact that there is a growing partisan polarization in views of the N-word. Democrats and Republicans didn’t always disagree about this. Now they do.


Confusion in the usage of the N-word here in Cincinnati is understandable. Racial and socioeconomic segregation are closely linked, especially here in the Queen City. Racial and socioeconomic segregation began with words and must be undone in a similar fashion. The N-word could be the precipice of a movement; accepting its more present little brother only in familiar settings could help dispel, its predecessor, as Childish Gambino called it, the N word with a hard "r".


Come to think of it, what other word do you know is spelled differently, used differently, pronounced differently, but still considered the same word? 


 24  JUN Staff Report 


DeAndre Smith is all set to add some luxury to the world of entrepreneurship as the actor recently launched a line of personal care brand of his own. The actor calls his venture, just another side hustle, but in these uncertain times, it very well may turn into his main hustle.  

DeAndre is a local Cincinnati actor, at times, juggling upwards of eight different schedules — a couple of bartending jobs, a few stints as an actor teacher, to be included with his regular acting gigs. Then COVID-19 infiltrated our existence, and most of the jobs that he held were deemed non essential.  

"I guess I came upon this career path with a little luck, hard work, surrounding myself with the right people while enduring many hard lessons," says DeAndre. "I went to Princeston High school— and even back then I knew I wanted to be an actor and it became very clear that in order to have any real shot at it, I had to go all in."

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So, like many others who inherited a “can-do” attitude, had to pivot his since of entrepreneurship and turned to something he had been doing for quite some time.

“Well, it came about with one of my side hustles as I juggled all those schedules. About four or five years ago, I began creating and using my own beard balm to help my beard to flourish and always had, in the back of my mind, hopes of maybe selling it to others. Well, since my other schedules fell off, I finally had some time to see if selling this beard balm would actually work. 


So I started Ursine Upkeep. While it’s not always been easy, I’m proud to say that things are bumping along nicely, customers seem to love our products, and we’ve had mostly all positive reviews. But as we all know…there is always room to get better.”

Best known for his role in “Once On This Island” where he played the starring role of Agwe, produced by Cincinnati Landmark Productions, DeAndre has made a career locally in acting and starring in productions all around the region. He knows well that Cincinnati is a hub for regional theatre and that the quarantine over the last month has left many wondering what they were going to do to survive and if there are immediate plans to return to the stage.


“Yes and no,” says DeAndre as he speaks to having plans of returning to the stage any time soon. “Many theatres are still in limbo. I was cast to perform in a show before it was canceled due to quarantine.  I do get first crack at the role when production is rescheduled though. But who knows when that will be.”


The rise of social media has vaulted entrepreneurship from an afterthought to a top priority for those out of work.. And according to K.A. Simpson, president of the creative agency SparkLight Creative Group, the trend has not signs of slowing down.

"Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are hotbeds for innovation and they both support an extensive, thriving small business culture," says K.A. "And now that folks are forced to think of their own new and creative ways to stay a float, to create a more self-sustaining income, the time for entrepreneurship has finally come. There are very few artists these days who can afford to just do one thing,” he said.


Greater Cincinnati is quickly becoming a hotspot for start-ups and innovation, trickling down from the madness in Over-the-Rhine. Companies like BlaCk Owned Outerwear, Switch and GOODS planting big footprints here. 

And a new entrepreneurship training coming to Covington is going to help as part of a partnership between Renaissance Covington, the nonprofit downtown promotional organization, and Cincinnati-based-MORTAR, which assists historically-underserved populations in business development.

The new program consists of a 15-week course for aspiring or existing entrepreneurs. MORTAR alumni have access to new customers and opportunities for additional funding as well as a mentorship network of business leaders.

According to a recent study from StartOut, a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ entrepreneurs and businesses, 37% of LGBTQ founders choose to remain closeted while raising capital for their venture.

Nick Wade is CEO of Renaissance Covington, a local organization focused on revitalizing the urban core of Covington, Kentucky. A Kentucky native and growing up in the Central, Nick has brought to the agency a sense of urgency to create a business landscape in Covington that more represents its residents. 

"I am absolutely cognizant of what the data says about the challenges I will face when it comes to raising capital,” Nick told Blackout Cincinnati. “That is one of the reasons that we are excited to be accepting applications for our upcoming MORTAR! Covington class. As Covington continues to grow and develop, we, at Renaissance Covington, believe it is imperative to place a focus on inclusive development.”

Nick also understands the varying access and opportunity that is afforded to people from minority backgrounds. 

“We know that there is a great LGBTQ population here in Covington,” Wade says. “And we know that a program like MORTAR!, a program geared to helping marginalized entrepreneurs, will help them create a more vibrant and inclusive Covington.”


 08  JUL Staff Report 


Many weren't sure how they were going to celebrate Black Pride this year. Between the spread of COVID-19 and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against systematic oppressions, some thought that Black Pride celebrations should take a backseat to these public conversations. 


Cincinnati Black Pride made the decision, early on, that Black Pride was very much a part of the national conversation and capitalized on the moment by moving forward with its Pride celebration.


“I think the community is really grateful that we didn’t give up on Pride this year,” Cincinnati Black Pride co-founder Tim’m West said in a recent interview with Cincinnati's Channel 9 News. "People that are here now are demanding that we be visible, that we show up fully as black people and as LGBT people.” 


Many Black Prides around the country followed suit, creating a dramatically different look for how we all celebrate. The usual corporate-sponsored parades and festivals were replaced with socially distanced celebrations and virtual ceremonies. Coming together virtually, in spirit, for some of the most marginalized members of our community is just what Cincinnati, and the rest of the county, needed. 


And now, even with Pride Month ending, the work of being an ally and making a difference does not end.

Talk to the Cincinnati’s LGBTQ+ People of Color in Your Life. 

If you're a white, straight and/or cisgender person, don't let the onus just be on your Black, brown, queer and/or transgender friends to talk about Pride. Engage in a discussion about the origins of Pride, or maybe offer thoughts on the recent Supreme Court decision that guaranteed LGBTQ people couldn't be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Support LGBTQ+ Authors of Color 

How many books have you read where a LGBTQ+ person of color was the main character? Do you know how many books there are written by local Cincinnati authors that fall under this category? This Place of Men by Doug Cooper-Spencer, Chronicles of a Boy Misunderstood by K.A. Simpson, and Ratchet by Shon Cole Black….just to name a few.

Participate in the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

If you want to support LGBTQ+ organizations right now, direct your efforts to ones that intersect with the Black community. Donate to Cincinnati Black Pride. 39% of LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. identify as people of color, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. On June 10, Cincinnati Black Pride organized a virtual Black Lives Matter town hall where a diverse panel of friends and allies attempted to answer the question, Do all Black Lives Matter?

Become a Meaningful Ally

This means walking the walk and talking the talk and calling people out when they need to be called out. Seeking out and paying attention to voices unlike your own and surrounding yourself with the aforementioned on a daily basis. Here is a quick test, if you can’t find a single person of color in the first seven posts, then you have some work to do — do the work.


Watch, watch, watch. 


Educate yourself about Pride and the Black queer community through documentaries, film and television. Documentary "Disclosure," on Netflix now and executive produced by Laverne Cox, looks at the history of transgender representation in film and TV. Our May 19 article, Bingeable Shows: What to Watch When You Just Want to Netflix and Chill, shows how much there has been a massive onslaught of programming chock full of LGBTQ+ characters of color and storylines clad with a black and brown community backdrop.


 15  JUL Staff Report 


Long before the glitter and rainbow paraphernalia, Pride began because of the Stonewall Uprising, a police raid of a gay New York City club in June of 1969, which turned into six days of protests, largely led by Black and Latinx queer and trans people, like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.


With this year's Cincinnati Black Pride coinciding with regionwide protests about racism, police brutality, and Black people being killed, it's imperative to reflect on history and all the Black queer and trans activists that forged the modern queer movement.


The racial injustice Black Americans face goes beyond physical violence. We also face hurdles in the building world. 


Minority and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) businesspersons have struggled to carve out for themselves leadership roles in the world of business as entrepreneurs and CEO’s. As they are 

experiencing much success, and are sought after to help provide unique and necessary 

perspectives regarding best practices in the areas of inclusion, diversity and strategic planning; they are yet underrepresented in mainstream media and in the business community. 


If you're looking for a way to honor Pride in quarantine (or to generally do your part in dismantling systems of oppression), consider supporting one of these 16 Black LGBTQ small businesses.


SparkLight Creative Group

Run by K.A. Simpson, SparkLight is the regions's only veteran-gay-black-owned personal and professional development consulting firm. For people in the region, and across the country, they can get a leg up on to your next level of development, may it be something as small as writing a book, or turning your side hustle into a career. 


Filter, No Filter Brothers 

AJ & Brice took to the airwaves, with this weekly podcast, in December 2019; dealing with everyday life and struggles in OUR community, Each week, tune in to listen to

open conversations and topics in politics, sports, movies, music, news, and support for the LGBTQ community. 

Anastasia Fort Design 

A design leader with over 10 years experience in product and visual design Anastasia has shown a broad knowledge of building digital media products with a strong in collaborating with cross-functional teams, managing visual design stages, and establishing effective workflows. She works to encompass the entire product design lifecycle, including ideation and visualization, user research, defining interaction flows, wireframing, developing detailed interface patterns, building prototypes, as well as establishing comprehensive brand standards or accommodating existing guidelines.


Criston Smith, owner of FitNext, wanted to bring a fitness studio that would allow clients to reach their fitness goals in a small group environment. His studio offers motivational trainers as well as the technology, workout variety, and nutrition advising clients need to help them follow their workout plans and see results. The group personal training sessions from Fitnext include functional training, interval training, and circuit training while the group fitness classes include an indoor/outdoor bootcamp, cardio combat, trampoline bounce, and Urban Explorer – and outdoor trek around the city. 


 09  SEPT Staff Report 


On Tuesday, September 15, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission plans to host a conversation on the unique challenges facing Black business owners in Northern Kentucky. They have partnered with the Covington Business Council and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to host the NKY Black-Owned Business Town Hall. 

Lack of capital and cash flow is the biggest challenge for African-American small business owners. That’s not really a surprise since those are the same problems most small business owners face.


But fewer African-American small businesses are approved for financing, often at lower amounts of money with higher interest rates. In addition, wealth gap also contributes to financing challenges, making it harder to [get] financing. 


In a recent nationwide survey of black and Hispanic business owners polled between April 30 and May 12, only 12 percent received the full funding they had applied for through federal COVID-19 relief programs, and only around one quarter had received any funding. By contrast, half of all small businesses reported receiving federal support through the PPP program.

The all virtual event will be moderated by NKCAC Executive Director, Catrena Bowman-Thomas where she will discuss, with a panel of local representative from both financial institutions and non-profits working in the space of entrepreneurship advancement. Joining the panel will be two entrepreneurs who own Black-owned businesses in the region. 

Registration for the event is free and each registered participant will be entered for a chance to win $500 to be put towards their small business. 


 23  SEPT Staff Report 


Ginsberg suffered from five bouts of cancer, with her most recent recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. In a statement she said that chemotherapy was yielding “positive results” and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.

Originally appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and serving as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing, she handed down amazing decisions on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action.


In 2011, President Barack Obama described Ginsberg as “one of my favorites. I’ve got a soft spot for Justice Ginsburg.”


Making a name for herself throughout the years and dubbed the “Notorious R.B.G” on social media she could write opinions that caused much disapproval when she thought the majority had gone astray.


Ginsburg was quite vocal about her opinions on the current President of the United States, for example before the election of President Donald Trump, Ginsburg told CNN that he “is a faker” and noted that he had “gotten away with not turning over his tax returns.”


She was a friend of our cause. Not just advocating for equal rights, but pushing ahead and giving equitable decisions. Ginsburg was well-known for the work she did before taking the bench, when she served as an advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union and became the architect of a legal strategy to bring cases to the courts that would ensure that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied to gender.


In 2015, it was Ginsburg who led the court as it voted in favor of same-sex marriage with the critical fifth vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking with a clear and strong voice against inequality and gender discrimination. Her unwavering support of the LGBTQ+ community, both on and off the bench, was a testament to her commitment to equality for all people.


Ginsberg’s passing now gives Trump the opportunity to further solidify the conservative majority on the court and fill the seat of a woman who broke through the glass ceiling.