Over the weekend, Aurora James of cult fashion favorite Brother Vellies took to Instagram, posting a very poignant prompt for her followers. She highlighted how harnessing our purchasing power is such an easy step towards addressing the lack of Black American representation. In her words, "We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space." While her challenge is directed at major retailers (you can sign the petition and learn more HERE), imagine what a difference could be made if we all took that pledge personally.

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@wholefoods @target @shopmedmen @walmart @saks @sephora @netaporter @barnesandnoble @homedepot I am asking you to commit to buying 15% of your products from Black owned businesses. . So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space. . Whole Foods if you were to sign on to this pledge, it could immediately drive much needed support to Black farmers. Banks will be forced to take them seriously because they will be walking in with major purchase orders from Whole Foods. Investors for the very first time will start actively seeking them out. Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities. . Dont get me wrong, I understand the complexities of this request. I am a business Woman. I have sold millions of dollars of product over the years at a business I started with $3500 at a flea market. So I am telling you we can get this figured out. This is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to get in the right side of this. . So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge . I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that. But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for.
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Inspired by her statement, the team at Lingua Franca has set up an open document of Black owned businesses - creating an easy catalog which we hope you'll consider not only perusing, exploring, and buying from, but also adding to.

To get you started on your consumer adventure, click through for some of our favorite brands and businesses, from fashion and beauty to homewares and even a virtual bookshop! Shop with purpose.

[Photo via @becivil]