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VOICES: Stop glossing over young, black entrepreneurs. Offer seat at the table.

The first annual Wright Dunbar Day was organized by Dayton businesswoman Tae Winston to celebrate the birthday of Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was born on June 27, 1872. The block party featured food trucks, vendors and more. Did we spot you there? TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTED
The first annual Wright Dunbar Day was organized by Dayton businesswoman Tae Winston to celebrate the birthday of Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was born on June 27, 1872. The block party featured food trucks, vendors and more. Did we spot you there? TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTED

“Give us our flowers and let us marshal the way. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,” guest columnist says.

Note: This guest column appeared on the Dayton Daily News’ Ideas and Voice page Saturday, July 4. 

Natasha Ivery is a journalist who reports and writes critical stories about topics surrounding Black women and girls lived experiences on her platform KultHERed Media. She’s also the editor in chief of Elevate Dayton.

Tae Winston has two stores in the Wright Dunbar Business District: the Entrepreneurs Marketplace and Entrepreneurs Shoppe.

Natasha Ivery
Natasha Ivery

She gives back to the community through philanthropy and support and is set to host Wright Dunbar Day.

Tae is young, black and talented.

She and many others hold the keys to Dayton’s success.

Dave Scott is a local artist who is the lead painter for the downtown Black Lives Matter mural and rightfully so, as his work is brilliant and transcendent in concept and creativity.

Te’Jal Cartwright is quickly becoming a local name with her YouTube and Instagram live show “What’s the Biz With TJ,” a show that highlights Black businesses in the Dayton area and gives them a platform to advertise their goods and services.

Irene-Marie Consulting is a niche service in the Dayton area and only one of its’ kinds that builds and sustains brands of all kinds, providing comprehensive business and life coaching, a true need in Dayton to unearth more economic stability.

Na’Asiaha Simon is the brainchild and CEO of Na’Asiaha Simon and Associates, a PR firm that has their finger on the zeitgeist of culture and works to build strong media reputations for brands locally and nationally.

All of these folks are millennials, most are Dayton natives and all are between the ages of 25 and 30.

It’s past time for Dayton to recognize that the future of Dayton lies in the hands of millennials (especially entrepreneurs) and give us a seat at the table.

Dayton is in the midst of a social justice uprising and cultural reckoning.

We have always been an underdog city, a city filled with gems that truly embodies its’ name.

>> Dunbar birthday celebrated at Wright Dunbar block party with coronavirus precautions

However, we have also repeatedly seen Dayton not intentionally create and cultivate a space for millennial creatives and entrepreneurs of color without having to jump through hoops and crevices to make significant contributions either.

When we discuss culture, extensive history of Dayton, artistic expression and economic landscapes especially in low income areas of Dayton, the invitations to join these conversation with targeted and innovative ideas and solutions are never extended.

We are often glossed over by older folks in positions of power who oftentimes don’t even know what is happening in the inner city because they’re disconnected and use coded, convoluted language.

Immediately in the aftermath of the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes, it was young professionals, citizens and entrepreneurs who organized city relief, opening our wallets, utilizing our strategic originality and the rapid fire pace of technology to spread the word about resources.

Even in the wake of racial unrest, we’re leading the charge on protests, resources, holding our city officials and police accountable. We’re fast, diverse, educated, imaginative, organized and aren’t afraid to shake the table and healthily challenge the status quo that has failed us for so many years.

Give us our flowers and let us marshal the way. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.