Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Boston City Council celebrates Black businesses for Black History month

Adam Marotta / Graphics Editor

Boston’s City Council celebrated Black History Month this week by acknowledging and rewarding several Black-owned businesses with a certificate recognizing them as a Black-owned business in Boston.

Before handing out the awards, City Council President Ruthzee Louijeune spoke about all of the historical landmarks Boston has set as a city but the ones that were important on that day were the ones that show Black history.

“From places like the African American Heritage Museum, the 54th regiment, the Boston Black Heritage trail and places around Roxbury where both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X lived,” said Louijeune.

In order to continue this tradition of Boston’s Black heritage, Louijeune had invited Miranda Rae, an R&B singer and songwriter from Roxbury and Dorchester, to sing the national anthem, Black national anthem and a song written by Rae titled “Pieces.”

With Rae’s performance ending some of the councilors took turns introducing people from their districts to award them with certificates from the city of Boston.

Councilor Sharon Durkin of District 8 introduced Chef Douglas Williams, owner of D.W. French, who also does work with the Museum of Science. 

“The main reason I do what I do is to help that 15-year-old, 16-year-old, 17-year-old me…I knew I only had one direction and that was this food thing and how can I do that but also feed people and also make people feel good about themselves,” said Williams. He continued on with how much of an honor it is to get this certificate from the City of Boston.

Councilor Ed Flynn of District 2 honored Boston Praise Radio with the Black owner certificate, he especially made a note to mention Pastor Bruce Wall, the founder of Boston Praise Radio who unfortunately was not able to attend due to not feeling well.

City Councilor at-large Henry Santana honored Casandra Campbell of Fresh Food Generation, a company that had provided fresh and healthy meals throughout the pandemic especially in Dorchester and Roxbury. 

“As a new member of the city council I just wanted to acknowledge that we have a black president and a black vice president running the Boston City Council. Boston’s changing,” Santana said.

City Councilor at-large Erin Murphy honored Hannibal Chavez, owner of two local auto-repair shops in the Dorchester area. He immigrated to Boston and started his business in 1991. He had also come up to the microphone with the rest of his family who have supported him over the years.

Councilor Enrique Pepén of District 5 honored two of the founding members of Cafe Juice Up, Denise O’Marde and Dimitri Phanor. 

Councilor John Fitzgerald of District 3 honored Complex Consulting Octavio Vieria, Silvano Semedo and Jamaal Shaheed who spoke about the fact that Feb. 21, the day the meeting was held, was also the day that Malcolm X died in 1965 and that “we are standing on the shoulders of many others.” 

Councilor Gabriella Colletta honored Ashton “Stackz” Lites, a freestyle dancer, event organizer, instructor and choreographer. He has been dancing in the Boston area for more than 15 years and is trained in krump, popping, locking, house, hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, Afro- Haitian and many other forms of dance.

Councilor Julia Mejia honored Euan Davis owner of Barber Time, a podcasting unisex barber shop that allows people who want to come in to get a haircut to also speak on their podcast and tell their stories. 

Mejia also told the story of how Davis’s barber shop had recently burned down last year but he still kept his doors open and had been trying to allow people to speak on his podcast so that they have a place to tell their stories. They had also mentioned that there was a Go Fund Me to support the business that had burned down.

Councilor Benjamin Weber of District 6 was not able to attend so instead his staffer presented the award to owner of Shea Butter Smoothies, Shary Browne, who had recently opened another location in Jamaica Plain. 

Councilor Brian Worrell honored Justin A. Petty, owner of Justin Time Productions and  department chair of Broadcast Media Technology at Roxbury Community College. He has been very involved in his community and has a large commitment to education.

Louijeune ended the set of awards by giving one last certificate to Larry Jimerson, owner of Larry J’s BBQ cafe, the first Black-owned business in the Seaport area. He walked onto stage and spoke with tears in his eyes.

“It’s humbling to be acknowledged by something that you do for so long and not really being recognized at all, we were the first Black owned business in the Seaport. Seaport wasn’t even Seaport when we showed up.” said Jimerson.

To close out the ceremony, Boston’s John D. O’Bryant school had sent a drum line of five students to perform in front of city council. There are also two graduates of the O’Bryant school on the city council.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Yanes
Joshua Yanes, Staff Writer | he/him
Josh is a senior journalism and communications major with a politics minor. He was born and raised in East Boston, Massachusetts, and has had a passion for the news since he was 8-years-old, watching and discussing the news to his single-mother of six kids. He has a strong passion for his Latinx background and wants to be as involved as possible with culture at Suffolk.

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