WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- "People aren't always trusting of our businesses," Ashlyn Mason with the Black Business Network Exchange said.
Mason said it shouldn't be harder for a black woman to run a business, but it is. She said Friday there's not as much prejudice as there was decades ago, but she says enough exists to make a job more difficult.
"Are we where we need to be? No. We could be a lot further," she added.
Mason said that's why she started the Black Business Network Exchange, a website for shoppers who want to support minority businesses. She sees herself as both a mentor and mentee and says without this community she wouldn't have been able to get to where she is today.
Another one of Mason's mentors is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She said his famous "I have a Dream" speech still resonates.
Antwan Jones from George Washington University adds what King fought for, many are still fighting for more than half a century later.
"Today, we're still facing those same issues," he said.
Jones is a race relation's professor at George Washington University. He said things like access to housing, education, and equal pay are all challenges people of color still face. But he said strides continue to be made, like Mason's efforts in growing black businesses.
Jones said it's important to keep the dream.
"We still have the notion that at least as we continue on there is an opportunity for change but it does require all of us to make that effort," he added.