April V. Taylor
In the wake of the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, many Americans have looked for causes to support that are more relevant to their lives, and Americans all over the country are participating in the Black Business Challenge and Blackout Monday as a way to harness the $1 trillion dollars in annual spending power black people have to build community, speak out about injustice and economic inequality.
Blackout Monday was organized in direct response to the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The goal of the protest was to have consumers only spend money at black owned businesses. Participant Taty Richards from Kansas City, Missouri states, “The importance is we have spending power, which means we have the power to make change. In order to get the change made, you have to be heard. We’re going to pull our money out and hold it and put it in our businesses in our community.” Protesters in Kansas City also launched a smartphone application to help people identify black owned businesses in the area.
For those who may have missed Blackout Monday, it is not too late to make your voice heard. The 30 day Black Business Challenge is a social media campaign occurring throughout the month of September. The campaign was started by Andre Hatchett of Buy Black NYC. Hatchett and many participants feel that participating in the challenge is a way to build black businesses, create jobs in our communities and develop resources that will be a catalyst to help black people build power politically, economically, educationally and organizationally.
To participate, simply patronize a black-owned business and document it with a one-minute video. Be sure to include the business name, location and service provided. The above link also includes sites that can aid in locating black businesses in your area.