LA MESA, Calif. — A La Mesa resident says supporting a black-owned business is as easy as buying a great outfit at a great price. In this Zevely Zone, I went shopping on Instagram.
"This right here is what I call my BLM book. BLM of course stands for Black Lives Matter," said Taylor Vassar.
The 18-year old La Mesa resident and UCLA student and club track runner shut down what could have been a relaxing summer break to open up a clothing business.
You can find Talyor's project called Clothing 4 Black Lives on Instagram.
"If you told me I would have been starting a non-profit back in March after I left campus I would have been like, no. But look at me now!" said Taylor.
She collects donated clothing items either new or used then sells them online for a smoking deal. "These are swimsuits, dresses and rompers," said Taylor.
"Dresses have been actually selling very fast."
Taylor says as a member of the black and LGBTQ community she is more empowered than ever to, as she calls it, own her skin.
"I do get that feeling when I walk into a room or when I'm walking around a mall I just kind of have that tenseness in me and I have to remind myself it's okay you are you they are them. You are minding your own business, they are minding their business," said Taylor.
Taylor launched Clothing 4 Black Lives about a month ago. Every dollar she collects is publicly posted on a ledger then donated to either a black-owned business or an organization that supports Black Lives Matter.
"For the first week, I donated $121," said Taylor.
On week two, she donated $158. On week three, Taylor sent money to the ACLU.
"I raised $95 for them, so a little short of my $100 goal," she said.
That's okay, orders are coming in from San Francisco to Virginia.
I reminded her that it's her summer break and that she could be relaxing at the beach. She told me, "There is just something in me that I like to say I want to solve all of the world's problems in a day."
Except for the expense of washing the clothes and shipping them to customers, Taylor passes all of the profits on to others.
"You're not paying yourself at all?" I asked.
Taylor told me, "Basically no. It's all for the cause."
It's a cause, Taylor says is worth getting dressed up for and just like her passion for long-distance running and community, she's in this for the long haul.
"This is a marathon definitely," said Taylor. "Every dollar counts."
If you'd like to go shopping on Taylor's Instagram page Clothing 4 Black Lives go to www.instagram.com/clothing4blacklives.