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Supporting Utah black business owners amid protests

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Local black business owners say there is power in protest, in politics, and in the purse. Supporting minority owned businesses is a way to keep that momentum of the protests going in a positive direction. (Photo: KUTV)

Local black business owners say there is power in protest, in politics, and in the purse. Supporting minority owned businesses is a way to keep that momentum of the protests going in a positive direction.

Salt Lake City business owner Roody Salvator said it is time for companies big and small to take a stand. Salvator is the founder of Makaya Caters.

He was born and raised in Haiti, and brought his tastes of home here to Salt Lake. He said most of his experiences in Utah have been positive, but not all.

“Sadly, there have been a couple of instances where I actually felt that I was black and that it mattered,” said Salvator.

He said when he saw video of George Floyd being killed in Minneapolis, that was worse than anything he witnessed in Haiti, which he points out is a developing country. Salvator’s business is the official caterer for the Utah Black Lives Matter movement. He said this is not the time for any business to stay silent.

“Asking small businesses, medium size businesses, large businesses, corporations to help us. Take a stand against the racism, the institutional, systemic racism that this country has."

Across the country, corporations and local businesses alike have shared where they stand in today’s ongoing discussions about social justice. Salvator said consumers need to take note of who is being silent, and now is the time for businesses to stand up for individuals and consumers to channel this momentum into meaningful change.

“Turn all that negative energy to get something positive out of it; to help local black businesses, black people in general, to kind of like help bring them from here to there. Because we really need that.”

To deal with changes to his catering business amid the coronavirus pandemic, Salvator said every Friday and Saturday he cooks for anyone who wants to try his food. He said you can call the store to order for pick up or delivery.

Angelique Girdaon and her sister Jasmine started their clothing boutique, A la Mode, around seven years ago.

“Being a black-owned business in Salt Lake City has definitely come with its hardships,” said Angelique Gordon, A la Mode co-owner.

Gordon said it will take more than just social media posts for businesses and shoppers to bring about change.

“If you want to speak about it, be about it. Spend your dollar, you know what I mean. Don’t just be social media activists and keyboard warriors. Go out there and put money into the businesses that you want to see thrive."

Gordon said consumers need to realize the power in their spending.

“Do a little bit of research about where you're putting that dollar, because it does go a lot to help your neighbor make their American dream become true.”

She asked Utahns to step out of their comfort zone, eat somewhere new, shop somewhere new. She said not only will you help their business, you may learn something.

“Learn more about your community. Learn more about your neighbors. Use a little empathy and realize that not everyone’s story or walk in life is the same.”

Here are some resources to find other minority owned businesses in Utah:

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