The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Black Lives Matter launches a website to support black-owned businesses

The activist organization Black Lives Matter stirred up much controversy during this election year in its effort to bring more attention to the challenges faced by Black Americans. Now the organization is really getting down to business–by supporting black-owned businesses.

Launched this week, the Google-powered Backing Black Business site aims to list every business in the country owned by a black American.  The site, which currently has about 300 businesses listed so far, will enable visitors to find companies by address, city, state, Zip code or categories that include food/beverage, health/beauty and entertainment. There are also separate listings for both online companies without a street address and non-profits.

“Black-owned business have long been a staple in the Black community providing jobs, economic security and somewhere for us to go and feel seen and safe,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a statement, according to Mashable. “In these uncertain times, we need these places more than ever.”

The activist organization has partnered with advertising giant J. Walter Thompson to get the site up and running and to spread the word.

“Working in advertising, I believe that the messages we push out have an impact and that we have a responsibility to try and shape culture positively,” J. Walter Thompson chief executive Lynn Power said in a statement. “I am really glad that our partnership with Black Lives Matter is giving us the opportunity to play a truly active role.”

Last year, Mother Jones reported on a study that found that the 100 richest U.S. citizens control about as much wealth as all of the nation’s 42 million African Americans. Some may argue with how Black Lives Matter communicates its message, but few will take issue with this positive way to help support black businesses in the U.S. reverse this trend.