Moving while Black is a totally difference experience. As a Black person, there are certain variables you must consider when relocating to a new city. I was not prepared for the challenges associated with moving when I left Chicago 13 years ago. I knew that I wanted to move, but I did not know how to start the process.
When I moved to NYC, I ended up in a pre-gentrified African American neighborhood called Bedford Stuyvesant. Every business in the neighborhood was Black-owned. It was the first time I had ever experienced a Black-owned coffee shop, Bed and Breakfast, and clothing store within a 1-mile radius. Not only was my area safe and culturally rich, but it also set the standard for the type of living environment that I wanted in the future. The following are five tips for relocating to a new city as a person of color.
1. Do your research.
One of the most important things to do when relocating to a new city is to compile a list of places to live and work where you will feel comfortable as a Black person. Create an excel spreadsheet of job opportunities and research the demographics and crime statistics of your prospective area. Chose places where Black-owned businesses are thriving. Speak to like-minded friends and family that live in the area in order to gain insight on what their day-to-day lives look like. Ask specifics regarding race relations in the city and identify where you would be most comfortable living. Make a list of soul food restaurants, beauty shops, barber shops and stores that you frequent. For example, when I lived in Boston for graduate school, the nearest beauty supply store was two hours away via public transportation. I had to order my hair products online.
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