Five Black women from Atlanta have started a nonprofit that helps Black-owned businesses recover from the Atlanta looting last month.

Executive Director of Atlanta Black Owned Business Relief Kelysha “Key” McCoy said she and her friend Khadeejah Rayner woke up the morning after the initial looting and decided they needed to somehow help their community.

“It’s our community, we must support it and uplift it, nurture it and see the best for it,” McCoy said. “Black owned businesses have supported us in many different ways, in many different facets of our lives. Those businesses support black families, friends, and associates, restoring, and uplifting our black owned is how we show them we support them. It is necessary for us to thrive.”

So McCoy, Ranyer and three other women — MoDupe Banjoh, Diandra “Dia” Davidson and Khlarke Bass — volunteered their time to start a GoFundMe to support Atlanta business owners.

”Within three to four days of starting the GoFundMe we had raised $150,000,” McCoy said.

At the time of publishing, ABOBR has raised $268,348 from its GoFundMe campaign.

McCoy says businesses have reached out to them, but they have also “reached out to some seeing some of their posts seeking help.” The five women run the organization completely voluntarily. Atlanta Black Owned Business Relief became an official nonprofit on June 19, or Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in America.

To the the Black-owned businesses in and around Atlanta, ABOBR is there to help.

“We support you, and now that we are officially a non-profit organization we will continue to commit to support you,” McCoy said. “We are black owned entrepreneurs ourselves so we understand, and our goal is to help confront the issues that arise when you just don’t have the funds to support your business due to hardship.”

According to findings from the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency, minority-owned businesses bring in $1.4 trillion annually. However, minority-owned businesses can have trouble accessing small business loans. Ongoing issues such as have made black business owners reluctant to apply for small business loans and other aid programs, out of fear of being rejected.

McCoy and the women of ABOBR say they hope the Black Lives Matter protests bring change, reform, even the removal of certain systems that at this point don’t benefit the people, regardless of race or background.

“It means that our value is not based solely on how we contribute and show up in this world, it means that we are valuable just as we are, just as humans and we deserve to be seen and treated as such,” McCoy said. “BLM means that we as humans, at a basic level deserve the same respect, consideration, opportunities and resources as anyone else on this planet, and those things should not be limited to us because of our skin color, something we cannot change.”

For those interested in supporting ABOBR, the GoFundMe can be found at https://gf.me/u/x5qzqt. If anyone is unable to contribute financially, McCoy says supporters can share the fund, share their website and mission, spread the word about what they are doing and even refer businesses.

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