By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — August is National Black Business Month – a time to choose and support Black-owned stores and other operations.

On Saturday, Illinois state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) gathered business owners to tell the story of their triumphs and challenges.

READ MORE: Chicago Neighborhood Pharmacies Pivot After The Pause On Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine

They celebrated the legacy of Black entrepreneurs who worked hard to succeed and vowed to support each other.

But everyone in the group agreed there is a long road ahead.

“As we’ve gone through this time, we are here today to remind the world that Black businesses – there will be no justice and no peace without access to fair banking practices. There will be no justice and no peace without contract opportunities – we don’t want just token opportunities. There will be no justice and no peace without access to union jobs,” said Melinda Kelly of the Chatham Business Association.

READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: Second Highest Daily Case Load Since January; Nearly 25% Of State Now Fully Vaccinated

This year marks the 26th anniversary of National Black Business Month.

Rep. Ford gave shout-outs to several Black-owned businesses, including the Society 2201 nightclub at 2201 W. Walnut St. on the Near West Side.

Ford also stressed the importance of Black Americans working together to build a solid economic future.

MORE NEWS: In The Wake Of Adam Toledo's Death, New Calls For CPD To Develop Better, Stricter Foot Chase Policies

CBS 2 Chicago Staff