Last Tuesday, you may have participated in #BlackOutDay, a movement that called for people of color and allies to cease all shopping for a day or buy only from Black-owned businesses. With the goal of showing the spending power of Black people and the profitability of Black businesses, the movement did just that—with some Black-owned businesses even reporting a 200 percent increase in sales. With the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor igniting anti-racist activism, it’s important to remember as we work towards equality that we must also undo the disenfranchisement women and people of color have experienced at the hands of an economy that works best for white men.
Coming off the heels of the Fourth of July, many took the holiday to acknowledge that though it was Independence Day for some, slavery would not end for another 89 years. Spending hundreds of years in chains, Black Americans were not afforded the opportunity to cultivate generational wealth—a major contributing factor in the Black-white wealth gap. As shown in our upcoming documentary, The Great American Lie, income inequality has only widened, mostly for those who are not white, straight, and male.
Even now, the so-called American dream is only for the few. Making your own way and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is difficult considering only 31 percent of Black-owned businesses receive the funding they’ve applied for, while Black women say the place the most experience discrimination is in the workplace. The Coronavirus has only exasperated issues for Black business owners. 40 percent of Black-owned businesses have closed since lockdown, while many have systematically been shut out from receiving federal assistance during the pandemic.
Michael De Los Santos, owner of the small business Mike’s D BBQ, saw a 280% jump in sales on #BlackOutDay. De Los Santos says, “What I hope is that it isn’t just a one-time thing, where folks in this moment are going to support Black businesses right now because it’s popular. I hope it’s a sustainable thing, where folks can adjust their buying habits for the long haul.” The Blackout was just one day—but the support to Black business owners should not end there.
Take Action! Make supporting minority-owned businesses a habit and check our Yelp’s list of Black-owned businesses across the United States to shop from.