Staying in the black

An effort to support African American businesses

to show black businesses how the Internet can be used as a tool,” explains Nassardeen. To that end, RBD is working to get its members online by offering low-cost Website design. Members can link their sites to RBD’s at or utilize RBD’s e-mail service. Up next on the agenda is a black church drive. “We’re working with churches such as Cecil Murray’s First A.M.E., which has one of the largest congregations in Los Angeles. Church leaders will encourage congregations to utilize black businesses,” adds Nassardeen.

John Bryant, founder and chairman of Operation Hope, a nonprofit investment banking organization in L.A., says RBD has made an economic impact in the L.A. black community. “We’ve had an alliance with them for the last six years and support the whole concept of RBD-that black dollars must be cycled within the community before being cycled out. And Nassardeen’s passion for the community has been consistent. His philosophy is that we [blacks] must invest in ourselves, and we think this must be done in the black community. Charity does start at home.” Bryant suggests however, that RBD consider branching out. “I think we also need to encourage people outside the community to use black businesses. We won’t survive if we rely only on black consumers.”

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