(October 21, 2021) La Casa de Don Pedro encouraged New Jerseyans to support Black-owned restaurants and breweries during their second annual Burgers and Brew Week virtual fundraiser. The event not only served as a small gesture of solidarity with the Black community, it also helped demonstrate that consumers can help combat racial economic inequality when they intentionally choose to spend their money on businesses owned by African Americans/Blacks and other under-represented groups.
Held October 12th-17th, the week long interactive celebration connected more than 63,000 people to the cause, helping to generate an uptick in first time customers to the featured Black-owned businesses. Guests also participated in social media activities and conversations, enjoyed a short video introduction to La Casa’s new President & CEO Peter T. Rosario and a video tribute to La Casa’s departing long time Executive Director, Raymond Ocasio. The fundraiser also shared behind-the-scenes videos about three featured Burgers and Brew Week businesses: Blueprint Café, Four City Brewing Company, and The Yard.
When asked about the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, Roger Apollon, Jr., Co-Founder of Four City Brewing Company, replied, “It’s a direct show of support for the cause.” Ayeshia Govan, Head Chef & Manager of Blueprint Café, responded, “There’s often a stigma attached to Black-owned businesses and we want to change that. We can be just as successful, have a quality product, which is what we have here.” Chief Envisionary at The Yard and Burger Walla Kai Campbell added, “We know that, historically, lending practices have not been in our favor, laws have not been in our favor, terrorism has not been in our favor, and cultural support has not been in our favor. If I’ve had to work that much harder to get to this place, I think that should drive you to support us that much more.”
According to the 2019 U.S. Census Annual Business Survey, just 2% of U.S. businesses that employ at least one person are Black-owned. Furthermore, results from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) demonstrate that longstanding and substantial wealth disparities between families in different racial and ethnic groups have changed very little over the past five years; the typical White family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family.
“La Casa de Don Pedro not only strives to empower our community and revitalize our neighborhoods by delivering comprehensive quality programs and services, but we are committed to helping Greater Newark’s BIPOC families and communities create wealth that can be shared with future generations. This is ultimately why we exist and what we strive to achieve,” said Peter T. Rosario, La Casa’s President & CEO.
In total, 12 Black-owned restaurants and breweries participated in Burgers and Brew Week. Two businesses donated a portion of the week’s sales to La Casa de Don Pedro. The complete list of businesses included: Four City Brewing Company (Orange), The Yard (Newark), Burger Walla (Newark), Blueprint Café (Newark), Bentleys (Newark), Urban Vegan (Newark), Montclair Brewery (Montclair), Resa Grill & Catering (Newark), The Light Rail Café (Jersey City), Montclair Diner (Montclair), Hackensack Brewing Co. (Hackensack), and Michezo (South Orange).
Sponsors included JPMorgan Chase & Co., Prudential Financial, and Valley Bank (Premier); McCarter & English, LLP, PSEG, and Withum (Friend); Greater Newark LISC, LPL Financial, RWJBarnabas Health Clara Maass Medical Center & RWJBarnabas Health Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (Fall Equinox); Bayshore Family of Companies, CTS Group Architecture/Planning, PA, Enrique Diloné, JW Pierson Co., and On-Site Technology (Sunset); and Arcelio Aponte, Jossue Bonilla, Margaret Cammarieri, Dawn Gammon, Haydee Gonzalez Santana, Dr. Gayle Griffin, G. Ubarry, Inc., RayZo Marketing, Richard Roper, Security On Point, and Ivette Rosario (Dusk).
The event’s free handcrafted videos are available below: