Blackout Day movement encourages supporters to buy only from Black-owned businesses
Blackout Day 2020 isn't anything new for the Black community. Blackout Day has been occurring since 2015 in the United States, and similar movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Black Wall Street happened decades ago. This first Tuesday in July though, has special significance.
Trustee Jeffery Daniels with the Village of Hempstead explained, "Today more than ever with everything going in the social justice arena, it's important that we unify and remind America that the Black dollar and the Black economy is extremely important to this country."
Like on Blackout Days past, the Black community is being asked to spend no money or all of it at Black-owned businesses only, for one day, to demonstrate that. In Hempstead, there's a push for the latter.
Daniels added, "It's important that coming out of COVID-19 we support these businesses because a lot of them are cash-strapped and came in to their businesses with a shortage of resources."
There's concern many small businesses that make Hempstead what it is, won't make it.
Blackout Day 2020: Website
Clariona Griffith with the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce explained that, "prior to going in to the struggle, we were already struggling businesses as whole, as a lot of people were taking their money to department stores."
Griffith owns a day care that she hasn't reopened yet. As she waits, she's met with 300 fellow business owners, like Belinda Watkins, of QB Unique Productions, to discuss the movement and what it will take for businesses to stay open.
"I really just want everyone to be on the same page," explained Watkins.
To achieve that, they say community members must think Black first when it comes to dining at restaurants, buying clothes, selling a home or hiring an attorney. Today and every day.
"Support Blackout Wednesday, support Blackout Thursday, support Blackout Friday—support Black businesses overall," added Daniels.
If money is an issue because of the pandemic, Watkins said sharing, tagging or posting about a Black-owned business on social media is also helpful.
Elsewhere, Tajina Rocke is strongly in support of Blackout Day. The Valley Stream skin care business owner says owning a business is challenging for anyone, but it is even tougher for minorities.
"You have to have clean 700, 800 credit score. Black people are not taught about credit until we have to use credit. So we're already out of the game, we're behind," says Rocke.
The idea of Blackout Day started on social media and circulated from there. Martial arts instructor Mark O'Mard says the campaign isn't just about giving Black-owned businesses financial support but recognition as well.
"I've been in business over nine years and I have over 200, 300 students and I can count on one hand how many are white," says O'Mard. "I traveled around the world and fought for the USA team. I would think people would want an instructor like myself."
To learn about more ways to support Blackout Day 2020, click here.