Saturday may have been the “4th,” but a national movement is calling for African Americans to declare Tuesday, July 7 their economic independence day.

Blackout Day calls for African Americans to avoid spending money with businesses that aren’t Black-owned. Organizers are asking that people “Don’t spend a DIME: Whether in person or online” for 24 hours. The call to action comes after numerous protests were staged across the country–and the globe– in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, raising awareness of police brutality and social and economic injustice. A boycott is a demonstration in itself, highlighting the impact of the Black dollar. According to a September 2019 Nielsen report, the buying power of Black consumers grew from $320 billion in 1990 to $1.3 trillion in 2018. The community’s buying power grew by 114 percent between 2000 and 2018 compared to an 89 percent increase in White buying power during the same time period.

On the website and via social media, people are being asked to accept the #BlackOutDay2020 Challenge by posting: “I accept the #BlackOutDay 2020 Challenge and promise not to spend a dime in a store or online on July 7th” — on Twitter and/or Instagram, with a visual, video, photo or by making a sign.

Black groups across the country are urging their members and followers to support what organizers are calling “an economic revolution.” From beauty supply stores to chiropractors, locals are on social media asking others if they know of Black-owned businesses to get their needs met.

The July 7 effort is an extension of an on-going Buy Black movement, one that calls for on-going support of Black-owned companies and economic institutions. OneUnited Bank, the nation’s largest Black-owned bank, issued a statement on Blackout Day.

“The bank has consistently encouraged the Black community to use its $1.2 trillion in annual spending more purposefully to send a message that is part protest, part progress. Today with the backdrop of proven systemic racism, the Black community is facing another pivotal moment in time,” wrote OneUnited Bank;s Chairman and CEO Kevin Cohee.

“We need to use our power – both our spending power, our vote and our voice – to demand criminal justice reform and to address income inequality,” Cohee continued.

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer