State Rep. Chynah Tyler of Roxbury is hoping to shine a light on black-owned restaurants during Black History Month while partnering with a Roxbury restaurant for the annual Boston Black Restaurant Challenge.
Now in its third year, the Boston Black Restaurant Challenge pushes city residents and visitors to dine at black-owned restaurants during February. Tyler said she hopes the initiative she sponsors with Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen will bring more business and attention to restaurants in her district and to the small business owners who run them.
“Unfortunately, wealth in Massachusetts is unequally distributed by race, which translates into fewer opportunities for upward mobility,” said Tyler, who represents parts of Roxbury, Dorchester, and the Fenway in the Legislature. “Black families’ wealth in the commonwealth is a fraction in comparison to most other families from different races. This leaves them more economically insecure and with far fewer opportunities for economic mobility,” the legislator wrote in an email to constituents and supporters.
“As a state representative, my mission is to use my platform to boost the economic development of black-owned businesses here in Boston,” she added. “By practicing cooperative economics, we can operate a facet of the economy and create for ourselves our own opportunities for upward mobility.”
A kickoff for the month-long challenge will be held on Sat., Feb. 1, at noon at Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen on Columbus Avenue. Tyler’s effort is running parallel to a statewide effort – the Restaurant Promotion Commission was created as part of the fiscal year 2020 budget – to promote the Massachusetts restaurant industry.
“At a time of uncertainty and change in the restaurant industry, we need to give this vital piece of our civic culture a boost,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in March when he announced the idea of a commission and a $2 million appropriation. “We’ve all been proud to see a burst of new restaurant activity across Massachusetts, but we’ve also seen long-established fixtures disappear.”