BusinessPrince George's County

Ben Jealous and Rushern Baker Promote Economic Inclusivity

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous toured a small, minority-owned business in Hyattsville last week to promote an economic plan for Maryland.
Jealous wasn’t alone in this effort, former primary election rival Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III joined him.
Both men fought a rugged campaign with strong language about Baker’s support for former county public schools leader, Kevin Maxwell, and Jealous receiving money from supporters who reside out of state, but they now have common ground again.
“Sometimes you fight like family, but at the end of it, your family,” Jealous said. “The county exec knows how much I respect him and have for a very long time.”
Baker mentioned how his wife, Christa Beverly and Jealous worked on plans to abolish the death penalty.
“His leadership is a personal thing,” Baker said on Wednesday, July 18. “Even during the campaign, we talked about ideas in moving the state forward. Different ways of doing it, but…the goal was always the same.”
As for economic development, they listened to Eunique Jones-Gibson explain about her business “Dream Village,” a co-workspace for entrepreneurs, artists and anyone to utilize 24 hours a day Monday through Friday.
If there aren’t any events inside the two-story building on the weekends, then members may use the space to work, or just relax in a calm atmosphere, according to Jones-Gibson.
Anyone can come inside and they are then greeted by a flight of steps to the second floor. To the right they will see “The Hub,” an open area with chairs, a sofa and a long table equipped with electrical and cell phone outlets.
The most relaxed spot in the back rests “The Vibe,” a room draped in black and white spotted wallpaper and two recycling chairs decked with pillows.
To keep the mind fed, a member can read a number of books that include “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae, and former President Barack Obama’s memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.”
Two big-screen televisions don’t broadcast reality or sports shows, but loops daily inspirational quotes, members birthdays and other information.
Members such as Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who pays $250 per month, can make coffee or tea in in kitchen area situated next to a meeting room.
“It’s a great business and it’s in the arts district,” Hollingsworth, who visits Dream Village almost daily said. “The design is not only relaxing, but the people who come here share a common purpose…”
That’s the main goal Jones-Gibson envisioned.
There’s “Feedback Fridays” where members collaborate to discuss strengths and weaknesses on a particular business plan, project, or community proposal.
For instance, they sponsored a trip for 300 elementary students to see the movie “Black Panther.”
“Mr. Jealous was here on our opening day when we cut the ribbon,” Jones-Gibson said. “We’re happy to support and make sure our membership is connected to what’s going on around Maryland.”
According to the Jealous economic plan, he wants to increase co-op businesses such as the one established by Jones-Gibson.
“These types of organizations are critical for challenging the notion that ownership of a business must concentrate profits in the hands of a few and can open up the benefits of business ownership to many more individuals,” according to the report.
Baker said he will support Jealous in every way possible to ensure more minority businesses blossom across the state.
“This is the type of business and entrepreneurship we want to see throughout the state,” Baker said. “This is about jobs. Everybody coming out of here is going to hire somebody to work with them.”
A study released in March by Paychex, a company based in Rochester, New York, which helps with payroll, human resources and other services for small and medium-sized businesses, ranked Maryland number one in the nation with nearly 42 minority businesses per 100,000 residents.
In terms of minority women-owned business, Maryland ranked second in the nation behind Delaware with about 18 per 1,000

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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