TeQuila Shabazz, affectionately known as “The General” is a Social Entrepreneur and the Founder/Chief Strategist of The BRIJ Embassy for Black America, a collective of over 5,000 members and supporters from all walks of Black life that work to build economic stability within Black America using small but impactful steps. After resigning from her position as a Sales Executive with the Chicago Tribune in 2011, Shabazz dedicated her time researching cooperative economics, testing models and developing practical solutions that empower individuals, institutions and organizations to work together in order to solve the most pressing civic and economic issues crippling our communities today. BRIJ was made official on June 13, 2013 under the name BRIJ Fund, L3C, but in 2016, the company was renamed the BRIJ Embassy for Black America, which spoke more to the direction of their work and needs of the community being served. Shabazz speaks, writes, educates and mobilizes around cooperative economics in Black America.
BRIJ is an acronym for Building Relationships In Justice. We are a collective of people from all walks of life with a mission to represent, build and protect the best interest of our community first, the descendants of America’s enslaved Africans and European slave traders, owners and overseers. We’re called by many names, most notably Negroes, Niggas, Coloreds, Mulattos, Black and African-American. BRIJ has members and supporters that identify themselves in various ways; however, Black is how we identify within the BRIJ collective because it is how our direct ancestors from America chose to identify during their highest collective quest for freedom, justice and equality. We connect with brothers and sisters from across the diaspora in America to strengthen our relations and support of each other here and abroad. We welcome support on our terms of our non-black allies that are connected through family and authentic service to our community.
Our purpose is to connect Black people around the shared interest of reciprocity and reinvestment that help to rebuild our communities. We drive awareness to the people and places doing the work in our communities. We promote accountability by encouraging our network to report their time and dollars back into the community; in turn, BRIJ tracks and measure connections and activity between Black people and within Black communities. The data collected helps us to work with others in order to build strategic plans around economic growth.
Our vision is to centralize our capital to better serve and protect the collective economic and civic needs of Black people in America. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Black Americans were offered opportunities to live, work and play in newly desegregated spaces. The capital that once circulated in our communities yesterday, now flows like gold today into corporations, schools, businesses and communities that are careless and cold about the future of Black lives in America. BRIJ is proactive with our practices so that we are able to respond to the collective welfare of Black people, a work that can not be left in the hands of those profiting from our pain.