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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Rice


Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Today, July 7, 2020, is Blackout Day – a day that African Americans are encouraged to purchase items exclusively at black-owned businesses, and boycott others. The initiative sparked in the wake of against police brutality. Blackout Day aims to highlight racial wealth gaps and the importance of Black lives in the economy.

According to the New York Post, “Activist and YouTuber Calvin Martyr founded the initiative, compelled by the death of Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased down by three white men, then shot and killed. Martyr has been spreading the hashtag #BLACKOUTDAY2020.”

He promoted the movement by posting a video that has gained much support on social media over the past two months.

Martyr says, “Although this movement is exclusively targeted at empowering and uplifting Black people all over the world, we welcome ALL people of color to stand with us in solidarity. Black people alone account for an estimated $1.2 trillion or more of spending in the economy annually. Together we have $3.9 trillion in economic spending power. While we welcome allies, who choose to stand with us, we make absolutely no apology for the fact this movement is FOR US & BY US.”

Blackout Day is modeled after the Montgomery bus boycott of 1950 when Black Alabamans refused to spend money to ride the bus until they were permitted to sit wherever they wanted. Companies such as Procter & Gamble and Cisco Systems have publicly announced support of the economic protests. Studies show that black Americans have significant buying power.

Fast Company says, “As the Brookings Institute points out, Black Americans makeup 13% of the population but hold just 2.6% of the wealth.

However, as Neilsen notes, Black buying power surged to $1.3 trillion in 2018. In 1990, it was just $320 billion. And between 2000–2018, Black buying power rose 114%, while white buying power only increased by 89%.”



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