OUR START - From the founder's mouth

In March 2017, I announced via GoFundMe that I was opening a grocery store in Detroit’s inner city/. Within a few days, I had reached $10k in donations. Within a month, I had reached close to $22k. City officials, community leaders, media outlets, rappers, singers, and many others have reached out to me in making this dream a reality. This quest is still in its infancy, but much ground has been covered, yet so much work still remains. Nonetheless, my true hustler spirit guarantees me that this will get done.

This idea started in 2016 with the creation of my social investment company Urban Plug L3C which was designed to build wealth in Detroit’s inner city. For me, building wealth in the black community starts with building businesses that provide our essentials to survive. That means we have to pursue objectives like owning our own land, providing our own food, and circulating our money through our people, for our people. Initially, our first projects consisted of creating money pools to start informal lending systems and to buy stock in publicly traded companies. But I felt we need to go deeper into the core of our economic issues.

The sad reality is that most of the businesses in our inner cities are owned and operated by outsiders, who instead of reinvesting into campaigns to improve our neighborhoods, they extract from the community by taking their money back to their suburban quarters. 

I knew early in life that “to lead our folks, we have to feed our folk”. As many of my childhood influences have always spoken of our need to control the manufacturing and distribution of our food. I truly believe that our efforts of economic development and advancement must start in the grocery. We can’t present any type of argument of our glow-up until we are the hands that are preparing our food. We’re hustling backwards to pursue any initiatives that are not centered around what we consume. Think about it… all other agendas can be tackled if we opened a grocery store. We can buy the block back (controlling our lands), employ our people, practice group economics, and build an industry or industries all from opening a grocery store.

There’s never been a time like this where digital channels are connecting people all over the country and the world. With social media, digital currencies, influential creators, and an opened minded, conscious, awakened society, I think we have the tools to create something together!!

Peace & Love,

Rafa

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