COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Cedric Lewis is an entrepreneur, community advocate but a father to a 7-year-old girl above anything else.
“We have the time to teach our daughter and let her know that man, Black is beautiful,” he said with a smile on his face. “It’s important.”
He spends most days, if not all of them, speaking wisdom to her.
He hopes he’s creating a mindset that he and many others did not have growing up in the Brazos Valley.
“Financial literacy is stuff that you're not taught as a minority,” he explained.
Looking at his daughter and realizing many other African Americans may not have the means, he came up with a crazy idea.
One that would take a small army to complete.
Well, at least an army of Facebook friends.
Reaching out to many of them he said, “if we can get 10,000 of us to pitch in $100, we can have a million dollars.”
It’s a hefty check that would go toward a black-owned grocery store.
Lewis explained that he and others don’t have issues shopping at their local HEB or Walmart, but it would be good to give the community another option.
The store is still in the works, but in the process, he found a group of people, like Donna Druery, who also noticed a lack of Black-owned businesses.
"Money talks,” Druery said.
“The creation of wealth is lacking, sometimes [it's] generational, and so we want to provide an opportunity and close that gap.”
According to the US Census, in 2019 there were one million minority-owned businesses, with Black-owned ones making up around 12 percent of those.
Trailing behind Asian and Hispanic-owned businesses.
What causes such a large gap? Here’s what Druery thinks:
“It's a lack of money,” she said.
“I think it's lack of knowledge, sometimes, and I think maybe even a lack of opportunity.”
With the help of others, they started Culturally Rooted Enterprise.
It’s an organization that throws markets a few times a year that brings together local minority-owned business owners and gives them a place to showcase their work or products, and network.
“In terms of that dollar turning over and over into the community, that will be fabulous,” Druery said.
“It will change the trajectory of a lot of parents, a lot of families and a lot of children.”
Their next market is Saturday, Feb 5. at the Lincoln Center in College Station from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.