July 7 (UPI) — Tuesday is designated as Blackout Day, a solidarity movement that calls for black Americans to demonstrate their economic influence as a measure to spur equality and justice nationwide.
Blackout Day asks black Americans to refrain from spending money on anything for one day — and if necessary, to spend it at black-owned businesses, according to the Blackout website.
The movement to dedicate one day to support black-owned businesses has been around for decades, but ongoing outcry over police brutality and inequality has added significance to this year’s observance.
“This is only the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of economic empowerment as a reality for all black people. United, we are an unstoppable force,” organizers state on their website.
Reshauna Striggles, an activist in Arizona, said buyers can make a statement against systemic racism by spending money only at businesses owned by blacks and Latinos.
“That’s where you’re going to spend money,” Striggles said. “And don’t spend money anywhere else.”
Texas activist Calvin Martyr compares the movement to the 1950s public bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., after Rosa Parks was jailed for sitting in a seat reserved for whites. The boycott gave rise to the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and an end to segregated buses in the city.
“If we get enough black people, all black people, we can unite like they did in Montgomery, Ala., where not one single black person rode a bus,” Martyr said in a video posted to YouTube. “That right there is what caused the civil-rights legislation to come.”
Black-owned OneUnited Bank in Los Angeles said Tuesday’s movement is a way to bring attention to the economic challenges of black Americans.
“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,” OneUnited Chairman Kevin Cohee said in a statement.