NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Mayor John Cooper’s office is working with minority leaders to help them get through the pandemic.

A new survey called has been launched.

Community organizers are encouraging everyone in the Black and Brown Nashville communities to take part in the survey in order to let their voices and concerns be heard.

“We paid for multiple events, from the Southern Women’s Show to every baby affair that was about to happen,” said Nashville resident and business owner Alphonso Harvey.

In March, Harvey had high hopes for Surg Prep, a medical service that helps women have safer, more comfortable pregnancies.

Then COVID-19 hit Tennessee.

“We went from having all the opportunity in the world, having spent money to prepare for a big push in March and on through the summer months, which is a big time for us, to having to really reconstitute the business,” said Harvey.

He has made adjustments, like having virtual events, but the economic crisis weighs on his mind all the time.

“They need help, on every level,” said LeLann Evans, Project Director with Our Fair Share.

Evans and Tequila Johnson are working to ensure African-American and Hispanic Nashvillians are not left in the dark.

Black residents make up around 28% of Nashville’s population, and a third of COVID-19 deaths.

A third of all cases in Nashville are Latinx residents. On top of the health disparities, studies, like the one conducted by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, show that minority-owned businesses are struggling more than white counterparts.

It’s why Evans and Johnson want to ensure federal funds are allocated to assist Black and Brown neighbors.

“So $121 million was given to the city through the CARES Act. Some of that money has already been spent, however, we want to make sure that the Black and Brown communities voices are heard before that full $121 million is spent,” said Evans.

“We’re not expected all Black and Brown communities to be bucketed into some monolithic approach to how we deal with this, but people are looking for help in every area,” said Johnson, co-founder of The Equity Alliance.

Harvey said he is glad to hear this initiative is taking place. He hopes it truly leads to action.

“I just want more than lip service. You know, there are $100 million being handed out,” said Harvey. “I would like to see Black and Brown people who are qualified get $50 million, $60 million of that to do what we need to do.”

“This is really tough for some and for families,” said Yuri Cunza with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said Hispanic businesses are being hit hard economically.

“It is not a lack of enthusiasm or a desire to succeed. It has to do a lot also to how new you are to this land, to this country,” said Cunza. “Sometimes, of course, if you are here through generations, parents, grandparents, you have accumulated some wealth or some credit history, which a newcomer will not have.”

The Equity Alliance encourages Black and Brown community members to fill out the survey.

“We want to have some preliminary information by the end of July that we can use and in the beginning of August,” said Johnson. “This survey is going to be ongoing. As we know that the needs from COVID are going to shift as time progresses. We want to be at the table. We want to pick the menu and we want to make sure other people have an opportunity to enjoy a meal as well.”

An opportunity to prosper is all Cunza wants for Hispanic Nashvillians.

“We have excellent, successful examples of how entrepreneur efforts have helped them succeed, and also our Hispanic community, I don’t think anybody can question, it’s that segment of the essential workforce that our city is relying on to continue being open for business,” said Cunza.


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