PIKESVILLE, Md. — During the summer of last year, Kelsey Parker, 15, watched as millions of people across the country took to the streets to protest racial injustice and police violence.
“The Blacks Lives Matter movement and the racial tensions, I really saw how black people weren’t showcased for their success as much,” Parker said.
Inspired by the calls for change, the Pikesville High School student started to ask herself what she could do to help.
“I saw a Washington Post article that highlighted that almost 50 percent or a little less than 50 percent of black businesses closed down during the pandemic,” she said. “I saw that and was like I want to do something to help them stay open.”
That’s when she came up with the idea to create a website and eventually an app called “Think Black”. It’s an online directory where black businesses from anywhere in the U.S can advertise and showcase their business to customers for free.
“Think black means putting your community first,” she said. “When I’m spending money, I’m thinking black. When I’m supporting a business or liking something on Instagram or Tik Tok, I’m supporting my community, so I’m thinking black."
Since its launch, more than 2,500 black business have registered to be included on Think Black.
Parker said she’s amazed by the response.
“It’s been great to see the responses from the business owners, saying Think Black got them more revenue, more clients…It’s been nice to see.”
This past summer sparked something in Kelsey that has changed her forever. And she’s hoping Think Black will do the same for her community.
“Black people as a community—African Americans—spends the most money in America.,” she said. “We control the markets. We control the trends. When we spend those monies in other communities, we’re not investing in ourselves.”
She added, “we can all grow by investing our money in our communities.”
The app is free to download in the Apple Store and Google Play.
You can find her website here