Raphael Wright is taking major strides by establishing a Black-owned, community-owned grocery store in his neighborhood.
“This neighborhood is classed as a desert because there’s no immediate grocery store in it,” said Wright, according to CBS Detroit. “I’m on this mission of rebuilding the neighborhoods that I grew up in and that starts with food.”
Food boxes are being delivered: While the grocery store is under construction, Wright has continued to keep the core mission alive by delivering food boxes to residents in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.
“If you can’t feed your people, you can’t lead ’em to do anything,” Wright said in a clip posted to Instagram. “I have about a half an acre of land that we’re growing food that’ll be in this store, but it’ll also be delivered to people outside of the neighborhood.”
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Investors will receive benefits that include sharing company profits, receiving product discounts, and voting power on the store’s operations. These actions have the ultimate goal of providing healthier alternatives for underserved areas in Detroit’s east side.
“We don’t see the representation because the representation is not in ownership,” Wright explained, according to CBS Detroit. “You don’t have people that live in it, getting the community that understands the community, owning and operating these stores.”
Through community support and an $85,000 grant from Motor City Match, Wright says he has fulfilled the financial requirements needed to complete his project.
“This is a crowd-funded venture,” Wright said to CBS Detroit. “Neighbors, residents, Michiganders, people outside of the state have either donated or invested money into this project… I was able to raise most of the funds pretty much on the street. The $85,000 that I received pretty much closed the financial requirements that I had.”