By Kaia Patterson, CLF & CSBBN Intern
From the eclectic sounds of Drake’s Controlla playing on high volume when I entered Starlight Square, to the colorful voices of laughter echoing across this newly-created shopping center, I knew Popportunity was a place like no other. Believe me when I tell you, the moment I stepped beyond those gates and into the world of Popportunity, not only did I feel comforted by this shopping community, but also, immersed among a group of retailers who truly cared about their products which, in this case, seemed to be made less for a profit, and more that of a passion; whether it be their interest in honey or sewing, necklaces and organic oils, culture, or, known as an issue most prevalent in our society today––the Black Lives Matter movement.
I found that Popportunity, furthermore, is indeed a place exuding vibrant entrepreneurs hoping to make a difference only beginning in the Cambridge community. It commences, however, with signs, quotes, and cultural patterns. The first shop brought to my attention, run by a couple in hope of racial justice, immediately greeted me with a welcome while ushering me into their stand. I was quite impressed with what I saw: colorful sweatshirts embroidered with influential activists such as the famous Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, and “Black Matters” slogans neatly placed on big hoodies as well as T-Shirts. Intrigued by their dedication, I came to learn both of them created this business while working several full-time jobs as a teacher, motivational speaker, artist, and Doctor. The next intriguing shop I entered just to my right was one full of vivid colors in the form of masks, shoes, magnets, hats, necklaces, and sweaters. The unique aspect of this shop, however, was its use of African cultural patterns and themes to add vibrancy to everyday shirts.
The dedication of these young entrepreneurs to cultural representation and racial justice is as striking as it is inspiring. I was quite surprised, therefore, at my ignorance of this treasure located just a mile from Harvard Square. Visiting Popportunity gave me the chance to change my once-enclosed view of local Cambridge culture. It has allowed me to support local businesses, entrepreneurs, activists, artists; all who believe in the power of the local community.
So, take that step, and do so gladly as you make your way to Popportunity: the new local hotspot embracing that creative Cambridge culture we all desire, laying just beyond our doorstep.