Aurora James Creates "15 Percent Pledge" for Long-Term Representation of Black-Owned Businesses

Sara Rodrigues
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis

From Veranda

As protests continue across the country following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more, the nation is grappling with its long history of systemic racism. And as various industries make public promises to "do better," one Black creative has created a simple way to pledge better support to the Black community.

Aurora James, designer and creative director of Brother Vellies, took to Instagram this week to ask big-box stores to invest 15% of their shelf space in-store and online to Black-owned brands. The request, she points out, is a direct reflection of America at large.

"We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space," James wrote in her caption.

James tagged a series of larger retailers in her original post, but since the post has gone viral, fans have been doing their own research to calculate and call out other stores who have failed to stock Black brands. The movement has since grown enough that James created a separate Instagram account for the 15 Percent Pledge that highlights the disparity in business loans, wages, and the long-term effects of the pandemic on Black-owned businesses.

Those who support the pledge can contact retailers asking for better representation in their stock, sign the petition, and take the pledge themselves. You don't need to be a big business to make Black-owned businesses a part of your regular spending habits, either: Use your own personal platform to spread awareness of these issues and encourage the places you shop to do the same. Find out more about the 15 Percent Pledge here.

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