Supporting BIPOC Owned Businesses

Toward Racial Justice explores the importance of supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) owned businesses plus their economic impact and development, Thursday April 15 at 7pm on WITF’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Black businesses closed at more than twice the rate of white-owned businesses in early 2020. With COVID-19 continuing to take charge of our economy and institutional racism embedded within our society, minority entrepreneurs are wondering where to go from here.

During this conversation, we’ll explore many of the historical inequities that business owners of color have been subjected to. We’ll also examine the toll the pandemic has taken on minority owned businesses versus their counterparts, as well as provide resources for business owners in need.

Panelists include:

David Dix
David Dix — Co-Founder and President of Luminous Strategies & Chair of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs, View his bio

Josephina Encarnacion
Josephina Encarnacion — Owner, My Source Entrepreneur Training and Coaching & Business Consultant for the Reading Small Business Development Center, View her bio

Stefan Hawkins
Stefan Hawkins — Owner of Good Brotha’s Book Cafe in Harrisburg, View his bio

Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart
Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart — President and CEO, BFW Group Construction Project Management in Philadelphia, View his bio


Get support

U.S. Economic Development Association

U.S. Small Business Administration

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

Certified economic development organizations in Pennsylvania (searchable by county)

Our goal is to elevate underrepresented voices with special emphasis on giving young people a platform to discuss their views. Race and racism are uncomfortable topics. Our objective is to help serve as a catalyst for change by bringing people together to discuss possible solutions and inspire collective action.

Share your personal experiences or ask questions that we can address during this conversation. Email us at or share your story using #RacialJusticePA.

The committee of co-organizers include:

  • Jankail Adams — Parent Liaison for the PA State GEAR UP-3 program, Harrisburg School District
  • Sharia Benn — President & Executive Artistic Director of Sankofa African American Theatre Company
  • Corey Dupree — Chief Operating Officer at The Bridge: Eco Village in Harrisburg
  • Stephanie A. Jirard — Chief Diversity Officer & Professor of Criminal Justice at Shippensburg University
  • Mark Rhodes — Diversity Educator and Strategist, Owner of Key Learning Consultants and a Commissioner with the City of York Human Relations Commission
  • Delma Rivera-Lytle — Diversity Education Specialist at Central York School District
  • Major Kristal M. Turner-Childs — Director, Bureau of Forensic Services, Pennsylvania State Police & WITF Board Member

The entire conversation will be live streamed and recorded so those unable to attend can watch, listen and share. Visit to watch past conversations and find additional resources.

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