For Black founders and investors, ringing Nasdaq’s opening bell symbolizes progress

Nasdaq on Friday hosted the New Voices Foundation and Essence Ventures, inviting some of the most prominent Black professionals within the venture and startup space behind the podium to help open the markets.

Though this isn’t the first time Nasdaq has honored Black History Month, some who were there commented that “history was made.” And indeed, this opening bell felt different. Shila Nieves Burney, the founder of Zane Capital, told TechCrunch that the day felt like all of the Black ancestors were looking down on them and saying, “Great work.” “We rang the bell for Zane and for all the other Black and brown people who built Wall Street but were denied access to the wealth.”

For investor Tiana Tukes, the experience felt bigger than just ringing the bell. “On the surface, Friday’s ceremony was about opening the Nasdaq, but for us, the experience symbolized the opening of doors for generations now and to come,” she told TechCrunch. “As the bell tolled, I imagined someone, somewhere, who looked like us, heard its call and knew they’d one day be next, and we’d be cheering for them.”