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Press Release

Juneteenth—a Time to Reflect and Recommit

A thriving Black-owned small business economy is key to economic justice.
WASHINGTON -

The federal recognition of the Juneteenth holiday this year has special importance for Black small business owners across the country. It marks the day enslaved people in Texas were finally told of their freedom, two years after the emancipation proclamation. It is not lost on us that we recognize this day of reflection and celebration during the year that also marks the 100th anniversary of the brutal massacre and white riots that burned down a thriving Black business and residential district in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

While it is a time for celebration, Juneteenth is also for reflection and a moment to recommit to dismantling systemic racist forces that allow for this cycle of promises and denied rights that continues today.

Just this week, promises of equity were again broken, the result of a lawsuit backed by conservative groups that effectively froze Restaurant Revitalization Funds for nearly 3,000 priority group applicants, including Main Street Alliance members. This is unacceptable, and Main Street Alliance has immediately called for the replenishing of the grant program, as well as continued grant assistance for small businesses across industries, and a particular emphasis on dismantling the systemic racism underpinning access to capital.

Juneteenth is a moment to reflect on our history, acknowledge our legacy of enslaving people, and celebrate the moment of freedom and how much has changed as a nation, but also to recommit ourselves to the work towards true equity and grapple with how far we have to go. A thriving small business economy, just like it was in Tulsa 100 years ago, is part of the economic justice that is still needed today.

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The Main Street Alliance (MSA) is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Main Street Alliance members are working throughout the country to build policies that work for business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve. 

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