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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Return of the S.H.E. Event

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The annual S.H.E. Event is returning to the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

“This one is especially important because we normally have three events every year that a majority of the vendors depend on,” S.H.E. Event founder Katina Washington said. “We only had one last year [in September], so for a lot of the businesses that are coming, this is a recovery time for them.”

On April 10, guests to the free event can check out local businesses, hear live music and grab a bite to eat from Indianapolis food vendors. This year, a few pandemic protocols will be put in place to keep guests and vendors safe.

Vendors will have their temperatures checked and visitors to the free event will have to wear a mask. Despite these changes, Washington said this is a big year for the S.H.E. Event. This year, there are more “kid-treprenuers” — child entrepreneurs ­— involved in the event, as well as male vendors, family-owned businesses and more city organizations and entities, including Martin University and the Indy Black Chamber. Local musician Briah Golder will perform, and Indiana Members Credit Union will be in attendance to speak with Black business owners about the importance of building a connection with their banks.

Derrick Slack, owner of food truck Black Leaf Vegan, will be one of the food vendors for the event. Along with his wife and three young daughters, Slack opened the food truck in 2020 after several of his family’s favorite vegan restaurants had to close. The S.H.E. Event, he said, is a great way to empower woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.

“I think this was the original intent of the Indiana Black Expo, and somehow it has lost its vigor as far as being there for the most marginalized communities,” Slack said. “You know, three-quarters of our business is woman-owned, so focusing on these minority-owned businesses are truly impactful. … The S.H.E. Event is a very important tool to help local Black businesses thrive.”

Outside of the S.H.E. Event, Washington created the S.H.E. Marketplace last year to help businesses connect with potential customers throughout the statewide shutdown. For those unable to or uncomfortable with traveling to the fairgrounds April 10, all vendors can be found on the online marketplace, and some of the in-person event will be livestreamed online on social media pages for the S.H.E. Event.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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