Blind Fire: Supporting Black Businesses, Game Devs, Mental Health, and Other Resources

I started this site with the intention to cover news about the gaming industry, and to review games. Rarely have I touched on social issues outside of the industry. However, after the public lynching and execution of George Floyd, it just doesn’t feel right to sit down and start writing about anything without bringing up this disgusting and reprehensible act. So, right off the bat I wanted to link to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, and thank those who are out there right now physically protesting across every city in every country that the protests are happening. 

With all the protests, and the fight for justice raging in cities all over the world, I think it’s important to have access to information and resources that help us support our black brothers and sisters , their businesses, and to help support those who are out protesting, and in some cases literally fighting, for the changes we so desperately need in this country.  

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

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After seeing many people I follow on social media talk about ways to help support black-owned businesses, I started looking into businesses in my area, and ended up coming across a fantastic website called www.officialblackwallstreet.com .  This website houses a phenomenal directory of black-owned businesses that breaks it down by style of business, state, and city, making it easy to find all businesses in your area.  You can find so many different things here.  Anything from architectural design firms to artisanal bakery shops, there’s so many great businesses to discover in your area that you might not even know exist yet.  Check it out, and support some new businesses. 

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In the same vein as www.officialblackwallstreet.com , www.supportblackowned.com  is another website that has multiple directories to help find local black-owned businesses in your area. This website is structured a little bit differently, and continuously cycles through “featured businesses” throughout the week.  Either way, both websites are a great resource to find and support black-owned businesses in your area.  

Supporting Black Game Developers

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The game industry is another, of many industries, that has seen it’s share of sexism, classism, racism, and many other social issues.  With that in mind, I wanted to see if there was a resource available in that same arena.  I came across www.blackgamedevs.com , a website for black game developers to showcase their social media accounts, their work, and their skills.  While the website looks very basic, the ability to search by skill sets is absolutely fantastic, and works very well.  While I don’t have a particularly big following, and I doubt anyone reading this is currently developing a game, if any of you actually are, maybe take a look here and check out some devs with the skills you need. 

In conjunction with this, I wanted to share this article from February 2020 by the website www.radmagpie.org that highlights several games put together by black developers, with links to their twitter accounts, links to buy the game or support the devs, and links to play some of the games.

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One last thing I came across was a twitter account dedicated to celebrating black developers, and helping create an environment where game devs can talk to each other, teach each other, and support each other. 

Helping Find Mental Health Resources

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Mental Health resources are always important to have on hand. As someone who’s suffered from severe depression myself, and did not know how to manage it when I was younger, I can safely say that there were a few instances during my life where mental health resources have saved my life.  Given that your average Black American is more likely to suffer from Major Depression than almost every race in the United States, it may be worth a look to share or check out for yourself, some of these mental health resources aimed at helping out Black Americans. 

afya
With several resources and information becoming more readily available thanks to social media sharing, there has been a well of good information to save and make available.  One resource I came across on social media is Sista Afya.  Pulled directly from their website, www.sistaafya.com, their mission statement is “At Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness, we believe that together, Black women across the African Diaspora can sustain mental wellness through connecting to resources and supporting one another.”  They offer mental wellness workshops, events to bring communities together, therapy and support groups, african- american and mental health themed coloring books, and various other things to help support mental wellness.

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Another resource I came across is called Ethel’s Club. Formerly a physical location in NYC, Ethel’s Club has become an inclusive online community (www.ethelsclub.com) meant to help their members foster connections, creativity, and well being for people of all races, gender identities, religions, and so forth. In their “about” section, they highlight a ten piece manifesto, discussing things like their zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, respecting other members, and that the goal is to create community, and lift each other up, not tear others down. Ethel’s club filled up 1000 slots on each of June 9th and June 23rd, hosting a free group healing and grieving session, open to the black community around the world, hosted by a licensed black therapist.  If this interests you, keep an eye on their twitter account @ethelsclub, as they are working on adding more dates for these types of free sessions in the future.

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The most apropos resource that I came across via these posts, is The Nap Ministry. Many of us have seen social media posts cataloging all the injustices and harassment the black community has to deal with, followed by “Black people are tired”.   Literally, and figuratively, tired of just so god damn much.  The Nap Ministry believes rest is a form of resistance and have an awesome mission statement.  Taken directly from their “about” section, “The Nap Ministry was founded in 2016 by Tricia Hersey and is an organization that examines the liberating power of naps. We engage with the power of performance art, site-specific installations, and community organizing to install sacred and safe spaces for the community to rest together. We facilitate immersive workshops and curate performance art that examines rest as a radical tool for community healing.  We believe rest is a form of resistance and name sleep deprivation as a racial and social justice issue”. 

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While there are many other resources out there, the last one I wanted to specifically highlight is Inclusive Therapists. No matter what industry exists in the world, within those industries, unfortunately there are people with prejudice of all different kinds, whether they outwardly show it or not. Trusting a stranger with your innermost struggles is hard enough, without having to wonder if that person is secretly prejudice against your race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on.  Inclusive Therapists tries to help quell some of those fears by creating a network of therapists that can be trusted, with zero tolerance for discrimination of any time.  Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a therapist super close to where you live, many therapists offer online conferencing counseling sessions as well.  

As I said earlier, there are a lot of resources you may or may not know about out there that I didn’t specifically highlight here.  Her are some others, as well as some books worth looking into regarding mental health issues and help in the Black community.

Letserasethestigma.com – Mental Health Resources and Information

Diveinwell.com – An organization promoting a more inclusive wellness industry

Therapyforblackgirls.com – A website designed to help Black Women find mental health resources and squash the stigmas around mental health issues.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation – An organization dedicated to erasing the stigma around mental health issues in black communities. Partnering with non profit organizations, they aim to provide programs that educate, celebrate, and make visible the positive impacts of better mental wellness.

Loveland Foundation– The Loveland Foundation works to help provide financial support to black women and girls, in the pursuit of helping them find affordable mental health resources.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health – Written by a black female author, Rheeda Walker PhD, this book explores the mental health crisis in the Black Community, how to recognize when you are struggling, and how to promote emotional wellness.

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re not Hurting – Also written by a black female author, Terrie M. Williams, this book explores her personal struggle with depression, even with a myriad of personal success, and how emotional pain uniquely affects the black experience.  Talking out ways to find find relief from the pain, and how to build a community of support, Terrie takes aim at helping people of color reclaim their mental well being.

Mind Matters – A book put together by several different medical professionals, Mind Matters aims to focus on providing resources for individuals and families affected by mental illness, specifically in black communities.

Supporting Protesters 

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Right now, as I type this, there are protesters in cities all across the world, of all races, religions, and sexual orientations coming together, and standing up for, equality and justice. I think it’s important to help those trying to help this cause.  Here are a few resources to help out. 

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The Minnesota Freedom Fund has a very straightforward message.  Aside from helping pay bail and bond for people systematically incarcerated, they actively work to help end the idea of “cash bail”, and to end discriminatory and coercive jailing. Currently they are also helping to post bail for protesters arrested during the current protests.  Given that during the current protests, the police are using tactics like cutting off all exits outside of cities before curfew is up, and then arresting people who are there after curfew, who had no way to get out to try to discourage protests, I think helping these people rejoin the fight is a good cause. So far, during the protests sparked by the public lynching of George Floyd the Minnesota Freedom Fund has seen a huge influx of nearly 20 million dollars from all over the world, and they are helping as many people as they can. There are several other similar resources out there.

Louisville Community Bail Fund – After Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was murdered in her own home in March by police who entered her home without identifying themselves, serving a no knock warrant for a suspect who lived on the other side of the city. After this embarassing, and disgusting display of police ineptitude, Louisville residents protested and pushed back against yet another senseless killing of a black citizen.  In the midst of this the Louisville Community Bail Fund helped bail protesters out of jail, and continues to do so during the current protests.

Atlanta Solidarity Fund – In the same vein as the other bail funds, the Atlanta Solidarity Fund works to try and pay bail for those arrested during the protests of George Floyd’s senseless murder at the hand of police.

The Community Justice Exchange – While those three have gotten a bit more attention during the protests, the CJE actually has a comprehensive directory of funds in every state dedicated to helping post bails.  They also provide the opportunity to donate towards COVID-19 relief efforts, and

The Culture Connection

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As I really didn’t know what section this would best fit into, but does include various resources, I wanted to make sure to share it.  Two Black WWE Superstars, Montez Ford and Bianca Belair (married), put together a fantastic website with a bunch of various information and resources that are relevant to everything I’ve talked about so far. Their website called The Culture Connection is a great resource for ways to get involved, to find books, media, and magazines that touch on black culture, events, and issues, to find black movies, tv, and documentaries, to find some black owned businesses, and a few other interesting resources.   

With that, hopefully, somewhere in this, something has been helpful to someone. And I’ve put this on other posts before, but if you are feeling mentally overwhelmed and depressed, and are having suicidal thoughts, the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. 

#BlackMentalHealthMatters #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd