By Isaac Davis
On 2251 Florin Road, Florin Square holds its annual African Marketplace event on the first and third Saturday of every month. This event will draw you to various parts of African culture through food, clothing, hair and skin products, and accessories. The African Marketplace is the place to go if you’re interested in supporting local black businesses in Sacramento and learning about the city’s culture and traditions. The intricate traditions and friendly smiles from the vendors and shoppers made me feel welcome as I walked around the event.
Owner of Sleep Queen Creations, Brandie Taylor, says, “I’ve been here for about a year now.” Ms. Taylor says the local community supports her, “I feel comfortable here. It is easygoing, happy.” Taylor describes her favorite part of the African Market Place: “The people are always lively, happy, welcoming, and just good to be around.
Mariah Walker, a local shopper at the African Market Place, has been attending the African market for five years. She says, “Honestly, ever since I heard about a black-owned and operated marketplace, I’ve been hooked.” Ms. Walker says her depiction of the market is “…really empowering you know there’s a lot of black dollar circulation happening in here you want to keep the black dollar worth of something in our community.” She says there is a lack of African American-owned and operated businesses in Sacramento. “You see, too many times in our community, we are willing to give our dollar out…we need to have more money within our community to make our community stronger.”
Berry Accius is the Founder/CEO of the non-profit organization Voice of the Youth and is the Owner of the father and daughter operated Seriously Delicious Eats. Since its creation in 2014, Accius has actively participated in the market and has contributed its fundamental concepts. Mr. Accius says individuals who own businesses in the Florin Square market came up with the concept and developed and elevated the objective. Mr. Accius “ We are business owners. I feel the same way as Malcolm X about self-determination, creating our own, and having ownership.” Mr. Accius then ties into his roots and mentions how the Tulsa Black Wall Street, ancestors, and the Black Panther Party helped depict the African Market model. “Having a hub to where folks can come from out of town being a destination area…has been helpful….” As a result, the community created a space where business clientele has grown. According to Mr. Accius, Florin Square Market has cultivated many events, including Shoe drives, Christmas drives, Black Food Fest, Shop Black Friday, and many events that tie into building a tight-knit community. Berry Accius concludes by saying that the Florin Square Market has “ put me in a better place.”
Supporting local black businesses is extremely powerful. By supporting local black businesses, we can ensure that the history and culture of our community are passed along to future generations. Everyone deserves to know what’s going on in their own community; if they don’t, they risk losing a vital connection that keeps the community together. Supporting local black businesses is vital because they are crucial to our community, and that helps keep the community together.