Black Business Matters

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By Jim Teece

My nephew married his first sweetheart, who happens to be Black, and moved her from the San Francisco Bay Area to Southern Oregon so that he could come to work for me. It was hard on her at first. We could all see how she struggled to fit in.

Now they have two beautiful sons that because he is Filipino and she is Black, are dark skinned and they were born and raised in Ashland, Oregon and are doing very well. 

When I think about their future, I only want them to be able to grow up in a safe and loving community, get the same access to the highest quality education that my kids had and be given every opportunity to change the world and make it a better place, as they make their way through it. 

In the summer of 2020, Vance Beach reached out to me to ask for advice about a new non-profit he had started called BASE – A community in Southern Oregon for Black Southern Oregonians – and when I heard the way he wanted to be positive and inclusive, I pledged 100% of my support.

We donated the website and all the hosting.

I have worked with Vance on the SOU foundation board for years. We tailgated at SOU games together. He is a great guy and I knew he would do great things with BASE. 

We were catching up on some changes he wants on the website, now that it’s been up for a year or so, near the end of 2021 and an idea jumped into my head.

“Vance, I want to interview and feature Black Owned Businesses in Southern Oregon in the February Issue because February is Black History Month, at no cost to BASE or any of the businesses featured.”

And he got excited and this issue slowly came together with his help. Then Vance and his BASE community took it further and interviewed the businesses as well, on video, so that the story can be shared on different platforms over and over again. 

I did the interviews for the journal and met some inspiring entrepreneurs. 

I’m very excited to share their stories with you and hopefully inspire us all including my nephews two sons. 

I want to read these stories to them, so that they can see that southern Oregon is home to dreamers, who work crazy long hours making positive change happen in their lives and in the communities they serve.

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