Campaign aimed at helping Colorado businesses struggling during pandemic promotes shopping local

Business boosters say it’s more important than ever to shop local because of the pandemic-caused economic turmoil the state’s small businesses are experiencing.

Both the Small Business Administration’s Colorado District and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade are promoting the #ShopLocalColorado social media campaign heading into the holiday season. The goal is to create awareness of Colorado’s nearly 655,000 small businesses.

“Coloradans know this year has presented incredible challenges to small business owners and their employees,” Frances Padilla, SBA Colorado District director said in a statement. “Our hope is this statewide campaign, along with Small Business Saturday promotions, bring much-needed attention to our small neighborhood businesses.

About 99% of Colorado’s businesses are small businesses and employ more than 1.1 million people, or nearly 50% of the state workforce, according to the state economic development agency. Companies with fewer than 100 workers make up the largest share of small business employment.

Shopping and dining locally keeps 70% of the money in the local economy, according to the SBA. The tax revenue pays for schools, police and fire departments, roads and other community services.

A state website provides flyers and other #ShopLocalColorado materials that businesses can use as part of the campaign.

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Before Kamala Harris, many Black women aimed for the White House

<span class="caption">Harris isn't actually the first Black woman to run for vice president of the United States.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/in-this-photo-illustration-the-us-democratic-vice-news-photo/1229538568?adppopup=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Photo Illustration by Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images">Photo Illustration by Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images</a></span>
Harris isn’t actually the first Black woman to run for vice president of the United States. Photo Illustration by Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The vice president-elect of the United States is the American daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants.

With Joe Biden’s projected presidential win over Donald Trump, Sen. Kamala Harris breaks three centuries-old barriers to become the nation’s first female vice president, first Black vice president and first Black female vice president. Harris is also of Indian descent, making the 2020 election a meaningful first for two communities of color.

Harris wasn’t the first Black female vice presidential aspirant in American history. Charlotta Bass, an African American journalist and political activist from California, ran for vice president in 1948 with the Progressive Party.

Before she was Biden’s running mate, Harris was his opponent in the Democratic presidential primary. She is one of many Black American women to have aimed for the highest office in the land despite great odds.

Two Black women wearing Biden/Harris shirts watch Harris, in white, speak on TV
Watching Kamala Harris’s first speech as the 49th U.S Vice President-elect, Nov. 7, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Hands that once picked cotton

African Americans have faced many hurdles to achieving political power in the United States, among them slavery, Jim Crow and disenfranchisement.

Black women, in particular, have hit barrier upon barrier. Women didn’t gain the right to vote in the U.S. until 1920, and even then Black people – women among them – still couldn’t vote in most of the South. In the 1960s, Black women helped organize the civil rights movement but were kept out of leadership positions.

I address issues like these in the government and minority politics classes I teach as a political science professor. But I also tell my students that Black women have a history of political ambition and achievement. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said in 1984 about the progress Black voters made last century, “Hands that once picked cotton will now pick a president.”

<span class="caption">Biden, himself a former vice president, understands the significance of the role.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/presumptive-democratic-presidential-nominee-former-vice-news-photo/1227818356?adppopup=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mark Makela/Getty Images">Mark Makela/Getty Images</a></span>
Biden, himself a former vice president, understands the significance of the role. Mark Makela/Getty Images

Today, Black female mayors lead several of the biggest U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. Black women are police chiefs, gubernatorial candidates, and, in growing numbers, congresswomen.

Now, Black women, who once had no chance of even voting for president – much less being president – see one of their own a step away from the Oval Office.

‘Unsuitable’ for the job?

Kamala Harris is a Democrat who served as California’s attorney general and later one of its senators. But, historically, most Black female presidential candidates have run as independents.

In 1968, 38-year-old Charlene Mitchell of Ohio became the first Black woman to run for president, as a communist. Like many other African Americans born in the 1930s, Mitchell joined the Communist Party because of its emphasis on racial and gender equality. Black female communists fought Jim Crow, lynchings and unfair labor practices for men and women of all races.

A portrait of Charlene Mitchell
A portrait of
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