For months, the United States — and countries around the globe — have been coming to grips with decades of racial injustices, brought to the forefront by the deaths this spring of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbory, among many other Black individuals.
After taking to the streets to demonstrate against police brutality and racial injustices, the Black community is staging a different kind of protest today — with their wallets — as part of the inaugural #BlackOutDay2020.
What Is BlackOut Day?
Blackout Day calls on Black Americans to go one day without spending any money, as a way to illustrate the economic influence of this community. (According to a 2018 report from Nielsen, Black people spend $1.2 trillion annually in the U.S.) The organizers also are asking allies and other persons of color to participate. And those who must make a purchase are encouraged to do so from a Black-owned businesses.
Who Started It?
The BlackOutDay initiative was proposed by activist Calvin Martyr in a video posted online in May that went viral, and he has continued to promote the idea on social media and in the press. “The only way that we, as a people, will get any change is if we unite — solidarity, with the dollar,” he said in the post in May.
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BLACKOUT DAY JULY 7, 2020. This is a call to action!! We need one day of solidarity in America where not one black person in America spends a dollar. This includes, Africans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics…ALL people of color. Together we have 3.9 trillion dollars in economic spending power. That’s $10,684,931,506.80 it’s going to cost per day next time a person of color gets shot. We will call it #BLACKOUTDAY2020 July 7th, 2020 please spread the message let’s show REAL action that they fear!!!! #CallToAction #SpreadTheWord #BlackPower #blackdollar #unity
Who Is Supporting It?
Major companies including Procter & Gamble and Cisco Systems have reportedly expressed their support for the initiative, as well as rapper T.I.
Retailer Concepts has closed its stores today to observe Blackout Day 2020. “We at Concepts stand in economic solidarity with the Black community. … We are taking this time to educate ourselves and support Black-owned businesses in our neighborhoods (many of which need more help now than ever due to the current health pandemic),” the boutique retailer said in a statement.
And fashion designer Tory Burch used her Instagram Stories platform today to ask her customers to shop with brands owned by Black women, instead of with her.
How You Can Participate
The easiest way to participate in Blackout Day 2020 is to not spend any money for a 24-hour period. But should you wish to support Black-owned businesses, FN has compiled a list of 35 footwear and fashion brands owned by Black designers and entrepreneurs, including Brother Vellies, Cushnie, Fear of God, Pyer Moss and many more. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it offers a touching point for exercising your buying power to help enact change and keep Black-owned companies like these thriving.