A coalition of activists is aspiring to reclaim and rejuvenate black economic power. The “Million Dollar Black Spending Power” campaign wants all African-American consumers to spend $20 a more a week at black-owned retailers. Bob Law, a radio personality and entrepreneur, estimates $1 million being spent in black American communities if we all support this effort.
Law penned an open letter to the Congressional Black Caucus urging the organization to see the impact of fiscal irresponsibility on the black community.
He wrote in a release, “From the corporate community to other ethnic groups, every community seems to benefit from Black spending except the Black community. We fully intend to renegotiate the Black community’s financial relationship with corporate America and others doing business in the African-American marketplace. We believe however that a significant starting point is for Black Americans to first take control of our own spending.”
Our spending has the potential to sustain black-owned businesses. In September 2012, the Nielsen Company released “The State of the African-American Consumer,” a report that projected that Black Americans’ buying power could exceed $1 trillion by 2015. The report confirmed the economic clout of the black dollar, but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) found only 2 cents of every dollar a Black American spends is given to black-owned businesses.
Law and other campaign organizers plan to combat this by establishing nationwide programs, including Recycle Black Dollars shopping tours, Buy Black Meetup Groups, and community forums. Consumers can also use the “Around the Way” phone application to locate black-owned establishments within a five-mile radius.
Organizers hope this is enough to promote conscious consumerism.
“We want this effort to be sustained. This is a movement. There is no end date. We are going to keep doing this until we’ve moved the needle. The success of this is going to come from people embracing it at a grassroots level. This is not just something that is for the middle class,” Law said in a statement.
Maggie Anderson, CEO of the Empowerment Experiment and author of Our Black Year has endorsed the Million Dollar Black Spending Power campaign. Anderson and her husband committed their family to patronizing black-owned businesses for 12 months. Other organizers include Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa and professor and chair Department of Africana Studies, California State University, Long Beach and Sara Lomax-Reese, president and general manager of 900AM WURD in Philadelphia.
If we invest in black-owned and operated businesses, we have the potential to foster thriving industries that serve our interests. I visited a black-owned hair store in Carbondale, Ill for the first time in January 2013. Though it is impossible to dedicate 100 percent of my dollars to black-owned businesses, I’ve vowed to purchase hair products solely from this store. It’s that simple.
Visit BuyBlackAllYearLong.com for information on the campaign.