On June 1, Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), an NWAF grantee, posted a statement of solidarity in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the ensuing unrest in Minneapolis.

Its statement condemned the long-established systemic racism and inequity that led to Mr. Floyd’s murder. And, its statement called on the community to channel anger, energy, and pain into the movement for change, which includes supporting Black businesses.

NEON’s mission centers on building equitable economies, thriving businesses, and good jobs through entrepreneurship. As part of this mission, it’s a cosponsor with West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) for the Northside Business Luncheons, an opportunity for current and prospective business owners to connect and to learn business best practices through a different topic each month.

Reflecting their missions and acknowledging the impact of recent events, NEON and WBC adopted a Q&A approach for June’s luncheon and focused on cultural districts that support Black businesses. Community members and business people addressed Shauen Pearce of the mayor’s office and City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison about needs for funding.

You can watch a recording of June’s luncheon and find out more about the July luncheon on creative entrepreneurs coming up on July 16.