Americans have plans to send a message at the checkout counter on Tuesday amid renewed calls for racial equality across the country.
Tuesday, July 7, has been designated Blackout Day, a call to action and “day of solidarity in America where not one Black person in America spends a dollar" outside of businesses owned by Black people, according to the movement's official website.
The initiative comes in the wake of protests against police brutality and renewed attention to the nation's decades-long racial wealth gap. As society has awakened to unfairness plaguing Black people in America, Black-owned businesses are getting showered with support in a loosely connected push for social and economic justice.
Reshauna Striggles, a protest leader in Arizona, told the Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, that people can fight systemic racism by patronizing Black- and Latino-owned businesses on Tuesday.
"That's where you're going to spend money," Striggles said. "And don't spend money anywhere else."
People across the country have planned a number of economic protests since May 25, after George Floyd died under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.
That idea appears to have originated in a YouTube video from Texas activist Calvin Martyr.
"If we get enough Black people, all Black people, we can unite like they did in Montgomery, Alabama, where not one single Black person rode a bus," Martyr said in the video. "That right there is what caused the civil-rights legislation to come."
In a similar initiative, My Black Receipt encourages people to upload receipts after they purchase from the minority-owned companies. The goal is to quantify how much of a financial impact consumers and allies make in the wake of high-profile incidents of police brutality.
Between June 19 and July 6, more than $4.4 million was counted on My Black Receipt's website.
The Blackout Day movement isn't new. In fact, Black-led economic protests date back to at least the civil rights era, with the 1955 public bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama being one example. Still, today's social media-enhanced efforts seemingly started in 2015 as a hashtag to combat negative stereotypes.
It spawned several spinoffs aimed at uplifting the Black community, drawing attention to systemic racism and the nation's racial wealth gap.
Black Americans hold just 2.6% of the nation’s wealth while constituting 13% of the population, according to the Brookings Institution. And white average wealth, which is heavily influenced by the ultra-rich, is $800,000 higher than average Black wealth, the nonprofit says.
Black-owned banks are also encouraging the economic movement.
Kevin Cohee, the CEO of OneUnited, one of 21 Black-owned banks in the U.S., said he felt compelled to galvanize the community and allies in support of buying from Black-owned businesses.
"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," Cohee said in a statement.
Contributing: Perry Vandell, Arizona Republic; Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star