Buy Black the Block has been the message in South L.A. for some good time now, and people are standing by it more and more as time goes on. Whether it was the late rapper Nipsey Hussle preaching ownership and investing every time he was on a mic, or the amplifying message of supporting Black businesses, it seems the Black community is taking back what is theirs and not apologizing.
A number of coalitions are helping amplify the message of buying Black the block, including the nonprofit Black Owned And Operated Community Land Trust (BOOCLT).
BOOCLT is a group of Black business owners on a mission to save the local Black community from private real estate developers who do not believe in preserving the community. Their goal is to build Black-owned wealth-building properties to help protect the culture of the community and provide economic resources so future generations can more easily support the Leimert Park area.
One of the supporters of BOOCLT is 2nd district Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.
“Our small businesses are the anchors of our local economies. This is about providing long-term strategies to protect small businesses from having to close their doors due to rising rents and real estate speculation.” Mitchell’s support of BOOCLT through the creation of a Countywide Anti-Displacement Commercial Property Acquisition Program is evident.
“I am proud to establish a first-of-its-kind program to help stabilize our cultural anchors and commercial corridors across the County. It is my hope that the findings from the Leimert Park acquisition pilot enable small business owners throughout the County to be securely planted in the communities they serve.”
The anti displacement program directs the Department of Economic Opportunity to develop a strategy for allocating $12 million in funding to support small businesses at risk of displacement. The businesses that are led by women, Black, indigenous, and other people of color, help maintain the properties they currently have to promote wealth and stability.
The program helps BOOCLT because the Community Development Financial Institution, Genesis LA, will administer a $2 million forgivable loan to allow BOOCLT to acquire the building they are currently leasing, which is located in the heart of the Leimert Park Village on Degnan Blvd.
“My bike shop is the first one in Leimert Park in over 30 years. This is emblematic of how hard and long it can take for Black small business owners to return to the communities they represent once they are pushed out. We need sustainable investments to stand up to corporate buyers and this pilot and anti-displacement plan is critical to protecting the make-up of our communities ‘ said Adé Neff, owner of Ride On! and Member of BOOCLT.