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Draze honors Juneteenth with Building Black Wealth events

Juneteenth is June 19 and to honor the day, KIRO Radio partnered with Draze, who often joins the Gee & Ursula Show, for two big events in Seattle.

“The Northwest has in many ways been a leader when it comes to pushing the envelope towards equality,” Draze said. “Building Black Wealth is the next step towards ensuring Black communities are properly supported. Not with handouts, but as entrepreneurs and contributing members of our society.”

Alongside Draze, KIRO Radio’s own Gee Scott hosted Building Black Wealth Experience, a panel discussion with Doug Baldwin, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks; Lewis Rudd, of Ezell’s Famous Chicken; and Keisha Credit, of Your Business Bestie. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also join the event with a few words.

Draze and The Ancient Robotz performed afterwards.  The whole Experience benefitted Urban Impact.

BJ Stewart, CFO with Urban Impact, said they’ve been in Seattle for 34 years with the mission of partnering with families and communities to break the cycle of social material and spiritual poverty.

“As we engage with local entrepreneurs, we’re not only looking to affect and improve their business situation, but we want to bring all of our services around to affect the whole person,” Stewart said.

He explained that aspiring entrepreneurs generally lack three things: the network and relationships they need, the knowledge and information to launch and grow their enterprises, and they don’t have the cash.

Stewart said Urban Impact can hep close those three gaps and help build generational wealth.

Monika Mathews with Queen Care graduated from Urban Impact’s program.

“Our premise is to indulge, engage, and uplift,” Mathews explained. “We want people to indulge in self care practices that really support optimal health because we know that if I’m at my best, I’m going to treat you a little bit better. And we need to get back to the essence of treating each other a little bit better.”

Mathews said they work with a nonprofit partner and provide paid internships for young women to work in the stores. She said she hopes to have one store in every state in the next five years.

“This event today of Building Black Wealth is so important and I want to agree that it’s the building part. It’s not a one-time thing,” Mayor Durkan said. “You’ve got to establish generational wealth and give people the opportunity from the time they’re little and you’ve got to build it all the way through.”

As part of the panel, Lewis Rudd, owner of Ezell’s, told Gee it’s about being seen and heard.

“Who do our young people have to look up to? When you mention entertainers and athletes, they’re visible in our communities. We need more entrepreneurs and more businesses that are catering to the communities. With that said, I see now there’s a lot of focus and attention. A mentor of mine told me once, ‘Lewis, you know, people go through life aware of lot of things but they don’t understand.’ There are many levels of awareness, but only at the deepest level of awareness do you find understanding. And only through understanding comes acceptance and change. We need to make a change. People are understanding now and they’re open to listening to what the challenge is within the Black community. We need to let them help us. We need to invite that help, receive that help. And we need to build businesses.”

Keisha Credit, owner of Your Business Bestie, said it’s not only about getting started and making money, it’s about keeping and investing the earnings. She said she learned a lot about property and real estate from her grandfather.

“He taught me how to keep my money, he taught me how to spend it wisely, he taught me how to invest it and grow it so that my kids wouldn’t have to start from scratch,” Credit explained. “When you start getting money, you start learning about systems that you didn’t even know about.”

A member of the audience asked Doug Baldwin, former Seattle Seahawk, what social impact means. He replied that it’s different for everyone — it could mean marching for something the community needs or talking with entrepreneurs about building Black wealth.

For Baldwin, “It’s about my two daughters that I’m raising right now. Every moment that I get, every second that I breathe, I am intentional about making sure that I am the best father, best husband, best man, that I can be for my daughters. So when they get older, they have an example of what to look for in a husband, number one, but also to know what they should expect from the world — how the world should treat them, how the world should see them, how the world should expect from them to be in this world. To me, that’s social impact.”

Re-watch Draze’s Building Black Wealth — a Virtual Marketplace featuring Black-owned businesses — and his co-host Laila Ali. This episode includes Alexandria Alli, of F&W Style; Jacob Quetant, of Nature Boy Grooming Products; Ja-Net Williams, of 3rd Eye View Eyewear; Jacque Mgido, of Jacque Mgido Cosmetics; K Muhammad, of Freedom Paper Company; and Latosha Stone, of Proper Gnar.

Get more information at

More Juneteenth Events this weekend:

Juneteenth Freedom March
Sat, June 19, 3 – 9 p.m.
Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle
More information

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom
Sat, June 19
Northwest African American Museum in Seattle
More information

Freedom March & People’s Assembly
Sat, June 19, 1 p.m. – Sun, June 20, 7 p.m.
E Madison St & 23rd Ave E in Seattle
More information

No Healing, No Peace. A Walking Meditation for Black Liberation
Sat, June 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in Seattle
More information

Juneteenth Festival of Freedom 2021
June 11, 1 p.m. – June 20, 2 p.m.
Everett, WA
More information

Beloved Artists in Painting Deconstructed
June 18 – July 11
Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma
More information

Taste of Juneteenth
Sat, June 19, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Morrill Meadows Park in Kent
More information

Black Washingtonians rejoice as Juneteenth is declared a federal holiday

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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