New Haven is set to celebrate its 2nd annual Black Wall Street Festival
New Haven will celebrate its second annual Black Wall Street Festival on Saturday at the New Haven Green.
The first festival featured 35 Black-owned businesses, and this year that number has more than tripled with more than 135 Black-owned businesses and organizations on showcase.
The city’s Director of Cultural Affairs, Adriane Jefferson, said she didn’t realize the impact last year’s event would have on the community.
“What we saw was a demand for this type of festival. A festival that really highlights and amplifies the work of Black people in this city, their contributions, and their businesses,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said the event is important to the Black community since historically they have seen their businesses destroyed or underinvested.
“What we've been doing as Black and brown people in this country is trying to get back to a point where we are creating and building up the economic wealth, the prosperous districts again, and being able to create generational wealth to pass down to our children,” Jefferson said.
Mayor Justin Elicker said he sees this event as part of an effort to address historical financial inequity and ensure that Black-owned businesses are able to expand.
Elicker said this is important so that in the long run, “there's more equity in our community and we don't have the kind of segregation and racial divisions that perpetuate not in the New Haven, but across the United States.”
This aim for growth is also a part of New Haven’s Cultural Equity Plan which was created in 2022 — it is a collection of ideas and stories and a list of action items that encourages incorporating cultural equity into the lives and systems of the people in the system.
The businesses showcased at the festival will offer different products and services. There will be live music and performances from local and regional artists and activities for children.
Young and established entrepreneurs will also be connected to services that will share business startup and growth strategies.
The festival coincides with National Black Business Month and will run from noon to 8 p.m.