Blackout Day 2020 is calling on Black people in America to use their economic power to spotlight the racial wealth gap.
The initiative, which is being recognized today, asks Black people and all other people of color to halt their spending for the day in protest of the injustices facing the Black community. Blackout Day encourages those participating to instead spend their money at Black-owned businesses if they need to purchase something.
Blackout Day was created by The Blackout Coalition, whose mission is to “create an international community of economic solidarity and national consciousness unified around our common experience and ancestry as Emancipated Peoples of America,” according to its web site.
The Blackout Coalition founder, Calvin Martyr, first posted a video about the Blackout Day initiative in May, in a post that has since gone viral.
“If we can do it for one day it’ll shut down the whole system if not one Black person spends a dollar,” Martyr said in the video. “I guarantee you we can get change. The only way we’re going to get change is when they fear hurting us like we fear hurting them.”
Martyr also likened Blackout Day to the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., where Black people refused to pay to ride the bus until they could sit wherever they wanted to.
“If we get enough Black people, we can unite like they did in Montgomery, Alabama, where not one single Black person rode a bus,” he continued. “That right there caused the civil rights legislation to come because they said we’re not spending our money in your system anymore until we get change.”
According to a 2018 Nielsen report, Black Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually.
The Blackout Coalition has been promoting Blackout Day 2020 on its Instagram page, offering participants alternatives on what to do on July 7, such as registering to vote, researching their family tree or hosting a family game night. The organization has also created a directory of Black-owned businesses to shop from on Blackout Day and going forward.
Blackout Day 2020 follows several other social media initiatives that have launched in conjunction with the Black Lives Matter movement, such as Blackout Tuesday and #AmplifyMelanatedVoicesChallenge in early June.
Watch Martyr’s full video here:
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