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How a local Black business owner brings small businesses together.

Zuarel Blue is one of many local Black leaders protecting his neighbors’ health during the historic COVID-19 pandemic. He educates his community about perseverance, and mirrors that of other Black people in history.

A small business owner, Zuarel helps other Black-owned businesses find ways to stay profitable during tough times. He also hands out masks, test kits and assists with the proper COVID-19 precautions.

“As small businesses, we think we can do a lot on our own,” Blue said. “I’m here to help people from where they are because small business owners have to learn how to be better.”

Zaurel Blue

Historic difficulties for Black-owned businesses.

Historically, Black business owners experience challenges to get the support they need because of systemic racism and lack of resources. Those challenges continue. According to our Pierce County COVID-19 Health Equity Assessment, Black people have had an even greater need for economic support and basic needs during the pandemic.

Part of Blue’s work includes using referrals so businesses can help each other. He also helps business owners with things like branding and advertising.

Foundational Black America.

Blue is the founder of Foundational Black America, a non-profit with a goal to bridge systemic gaps in our society and bring local businesses together.

He offers support to businesses on the ground floor. He helps them adjust, whether that means making up for lost staff or finding ways to make their businesses mobile. He also brings businesses together to discuss ways to grow, how to improve and how COVID has challenged businesses.

He uses the same mindset when working with the Federal Way Black Collective.

“A lot of people are giving up hope on their ability to do better,” Blue said. “(COVID-19) may affect us, and it may affect me, but I haven’t given up. I won’t quit.”

 Historic won’t quit attitude.

His won’t quit attitude is like that of Roscoe Conkling Brown Sr.

As a public health pioneer, Conkling Brown Sr. served as a member of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet. The cabinet helped represent the needs of Black people during The New Deal.

He also helped coordinate Negro Health Week, which began in 1915.

During this time Conkling Brown Sr. developed educational materials and published journals with issues specific to the Black community.

Learn more about Black History and share what Black History means to you.