AUSTIN, Texas - Yelp will soon be launching a new search tool to make it easier for users to find and support Black-owned businesses.
The online review site will be launching a new free searchable attribute to give businesses a way to identify themselves as Black-owned. The attribute will be opt-in only, according to a blog post on Yelp's website by CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman.
"We’ve been inspired by the outpouring of requests for this feature from users who want to support Black businesses," Stoppelman said in the post. "In fact, over the last week, we saw a 25x increase in the frequency of searches for Black-owned businesses across categories on Yelp compared to the same time last year."
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According to the post, Yelp sent out "Black-owned" window decals in February for businesses to display on their storefronts in response to businesses asking for a simple way to highlight that for customers.
The attribute should be launched within two weeks, says Stoppelman, but in the meantime, Yelp is curating collections of local Black-owned businesses across the country for users to support.
The search tool is only one of the initiatives Stoppelman shared in the post. The Yelp Foundation will also be donating $500,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Foundation is also raising its employee donation matching cap to $10,000 and will double the match of employee donations made in June to any of the following Black-led and Black-serving organizations:
- Black Futures Lab
- Center for Policing Equity
- Common Future
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Know Your Rights Camp
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- National Black Justice Coalition
- The Bail Project
- The Movement for Black Lives
Stoppelman also says the company is "creating the space to discuss the racial injustice in our society" and will be rolling out tools, training and educational opportunities "to help ensure that we make the change we want to see in the world, here at Yelp."
Yelp is also offering additional paid mental health days in June for any employee "who needs the time to heal" and will be organizing virtual events for their Black employees to support one another in a safe environment.
"There can be no going back to ‘business as usual’ when the protests, tweets and news cycle die down," Stoppelman said. "We all have to do our part to get educated, and we must use our voices, votes and whatever power and platform we have to reject racism in all its forms, until we put an end to this oppression that has plagued our country for centuries."
Stoppelman says that these steps are just the starting point as Yelp continues to work toward long-term changes.