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She also founded the Pinky Cole Foundationwhich helps support entrepreneurs of color through education, training, networking, and fundraising assistance. I grew up in a Jamaican household. My mother was a Rastafarian, so I already had a door into eating better. And then coming to college in Atlanta, it was important for me to make sure I was educating people around me on how to eat better, even if it started with vegan comfort food.
I wanted to teach them how not to compromise animals in order to eat well. This was just something I believed in. I wanted people to live better, eat better, and think better—thinking higher of themselves, opening up their consciousness.
Slutty Vegan could not successfully exist without the city of Atlanta. There is so much cultural history here. And to be able to put a restaurant concept that does not involve any meat in the heart of the South, and for it to still be wildly successful, just shows how much support the people and community in Atlanta give to Black-owned businesses.
It feels good to know that level of support is unwavering. My intention was really to help people live better.
I want that to be my legacy. Because nothing in the world brings me more joy than to see other people win. When I created my foundation, I wanted to bridge that generational wealth gap, showing people who look like me that you too can be an entrepreneur. I learned from the mistakes of my restaurants, I learned from Google, and I learned from YouTube. We require people to pay for it. I know what it feels like to lose my house.
I know what it feels like to lose my car, I know what it feels like to get my wages garnished. I know how all that feels. So, how can I support other business owners, and help them to not make the same mistakes that I made, and help them become even a better entrepreneur than I am?
At my business, they have a running joke because they say I give too much. Too many discounts, too much free food. Today will never look like tomorrow, especially with everything happening with COVID, with everything happening with George Floyd and the protests.
We are literally adjusting every single day. I just went to Mexico. All of us are educated Black women. Only one person spoke up on our behalf, because I was so much in shock. Do I categorize all white people as the same? Absolutely not. But to be on the receiving end of that just hurts. We see it all the time. As a Black woman, privilege feels different. Even for me as an entrepreneur, every single day I fight a battle to make sure that no one puts a stigma on my business.
I think this is the first time where the world said they were tired. The world finally said that they were tired. And they were finally feeling this change was happening. But it just sucks that it had to be as a result of a Black man getting murdered. Another one of us? And this is part of the reason why I get so much support. I get so much love from the community because they are proud.
After two years, people still come and support me. Because this is a victory for them.
And that feels good. The protests are bigger than people burning down buildings and looting and rioting. I think people get too focused on that, so yes, businesses are getting destroyed, which is unfortunate. Do I condone people destroying businesses? My peaceful protest is moving my money to a Black bank. Knowledge is power. But now, what is our plan of action? What are we going to do? It was Black, white, Asians—it was everybody. So beyond the protests, how are we going to continue the narrative that we want change and equality? Philanthropy is at the core of who we are.
I just want to encourage and implore business owners and people who have been protesting to take an action far beyond holding up a. I hope people take long-term action where we can really make change, so that we can finally see equality amongst all people. By Pinky Cole as told to Lyric Lewin.
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