Reminder… You’re Still Black and Doing Business with Blacks Still Helps Our Community

Joe C. Hopkins

Joe C. Hopkins

If you watch what is happening around you, you will see the remnants of discrimination, slavery, and most hurtful, “The Willie Lynch Letter”.

This week, two incidents reminded me of where we are as a country and as a people. One incident was the CBS story of the NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN KICKING A BLACK WOMEN’S BOOK CLUB OFF THEIR TRAIN, midway through the trip. The story tells about an eleven member Black Women’s Book Club (one appears to be White) being told to quiet down or get off the train. The Train company eventually called the police and had the eleven women put off the train.

The group included an 83 year old Black woman on a cane. They were talking, laughing and having a good time. So now we can add, “Talking while Black” as a violation of our freedom. The operators of the NAPA VALLEY TRAIN COMPANY could have made other adjustments. As one friend of mine said, “It was a wine train, not a prayer train”. There had to be a less burdensome alternative!

I suggest that we all write the Train company and complain because it could have been any of us, our Book Club, Sorority, church, or other gathering. This is a reminder that it’s a full time being Black, and we are all reminded of this in a number of ways.

The other reminder that we are still being treated different because we are Black has to do with our treatment of our own people.

A young lady who goes to the Church I attend came into our office to publish a Fictitious Business Name Statement, acknowledged that although the solicitors at the County Recorder’s office hounded her to get the business, she was determined to do business with The Journal. First, commend this young woman for her for having a Black consciousness many older Black do not have. Second, I appreciate the business because these are hard times for all. The more business we can do, the more jobs we can create and sustain our business. This young lady is opening her own business after graduating from College. She has learned the value of receiving support for our own people. She has also learned that there are few jobs and fewer of “us“ in business for ourselves. On most jobs, we are still the last ones hired and the first ones fired.

I am watching how our people are treating my son who has opened his ministry to earn a living doing God’s work for his small family. He is a Ph.D and an expert in the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has scheduled trips to the exhibit while they are in Southern California. However, we hear from people and groups who are going to see the scrolls with groups on their own and without an understanding of the scrolls. Then some of them come back and ask him to explain what they saw. It’s sad. They don’t want hire him but they want him to explain, after they pay someone else to go on the tour.

The Journal has survived for over twenty-five years, and we will continue, God willing, but it takes the support of a village to survive. Just imagine if we didn’t have a Black newspaper. Where would you see your club, your church, or your Childs’ contributions highlighted? We take pride in printing and publishing the good news of Black community. We need your support so we can continue to support you!
You can do your part. Next time you are at your local business, your church, or whatever, ask your local restaurant, your pastor, or whatever business you do business with, why they don’t advertise in The Journal.

We received a video of a Black family that did business exclusively with Black businesses for one year. I suggest that you watch it. It’s called, “Our Black Year”, by Maggie Anderson ( She was the speaker at the Women of Color Conference, September 2014. Watch it. It will open your eyes. Then I dare you to at least try doing with Black businesses – On Purpose.

Try it at least for a 3-month period of time. Then try for longer. You should feel a sense of responsibility to help your own people, like the young women I mentioned earlier in this article, and like I do, and like Maggie does! Again, here is the link to the video: