In a time where more conversations around race are occurring across the country due to the recent Black Lives Matter protests, many people have called for more hubs for Black professionals and entrepreneurs.
One entrepreneur answered the call by creating a space for Black professionals to network, thrive, and make change. Kirk Brown started Melanin Meetups in 2016 as a way for more Black professionals to network to obtain more opportunities in their respective fields.
“I started [the company] as a call to action to fortify my community’s narrative in this country in response to the 2016 election and impending events that would come after,” said Brown in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Given my family is from the Jim Crow south, I saw how malleable my identity was through their narratives in relation to mainstream American narrative taught to us in school. As a result, I’ve always questioned America’s civic religion (holidays, labels, national figures, etc.) throughout childhood and the way our narrative has been treated throughout the country’s existence. I felt for our community’s advancement in the 21st century, it was imperative to begin to better understand who we are, creating a space for conversation and connection to move forward powered by data.”
The national think tank has been able to work on various projects that involve research while developing data-driven solutions to advance those within the Black community. One of their recent projects, the Better Together Project, was designed to memorialize the African American experience with one of the first initiatives being to stop the glamorization of plantation tourism in the South.
“On top of leveraging industry to foster cultural and economic power at our meetups; we encourage members of our think tank to question and challenge who we are as a group with new schools of thought in order to see how integral we are to America’s success and future,” Brown explained.
“Doing this allows us to see our growth point toward acceptance of all members of our community, which helps to facilitate a strong foundational narrative that can sustain us and carry us to [the] next steps as a community in the 21st century.”