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Supporting black-owned businesses on Juneteenth and year-round

HOUSTON – Specializing in “a taste of soul,” Upper Kirby Bistro located off Virginia Street opened about two years ago, said co-owner, Terry Williams.

Keeping culture at the heart of their menu and their values is paramount to their operation, said Williams.

“It’s an opportunity for us to welcome other people into our family experience,” Williams said.

They may be a some-what new business, Williams said, but their roots are embedded in the past.

“[It’s] just a place that accepts and celebrates absolutely everybody, while reflecting the black culture behind it and make this entity possible,” Williams said.

Black-owned businesses are vital to the area’s growth, said Marina Coryat, a board member of the Houston Area Urban League (HAUL).

“When we can support black-owned businesses, it helps the ripple effect to help other families in our community,” Coryat said.

According to HAUL’s website, the non-profit organization focuses on cultivating economic self-reliance within disadvantaged communities.

“We’re about justice,” Coryat said. “We’re about parity. We’re about economic development.”

HAUL was founded on June 19, 1968. This year marks its 52nd anniversary. To many, June 19 is known as Juneteenth, a day to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The day now serves as a double celebration for those connected to the Houston Area Urban League said Coryat.

“To think that an organization has been doing this to help others for that length of time is incredible,” Coryat said.

If you would like more information about the organization, head to www.haul.org