Today Is Blackout Day, Here’s What You Should Know

Americans have plans to send a message today using their hard-earned dollars, amid renewed calls for racial equality across the U.S.

Tuesday, July 7th, 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.

In general, the group encourages those supporting the movement to not spend any money at all. However, if they have to they are encouraged to only buy from Black-owned businesses.

The initiative comes in the wake of protests against police brutality and revitalized attention to the nation’s decades-long racial wealth gap. Black-owned businesses are getting showered with local support in a loosely connected push for social and economic justice.

The overall goal of #BlackoutDay2020 is to force politicians and businesses to end their racist policies and practices that have led to the deaths and marginalization of Black Americans.

An activist Calvin Martyr has spent months promoting the campaign after raising the idea in a video that has been shared thousands of times on social media.

BLACKOUT DAY JULY 7, 2020. This is a call to action!! We need one day of solidarity in America where not one black person in America spends a dollar. This includes, Africans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics…ALL people of color. Together we have 3.9 trillion dollars in economic spending power. That’s $10,684,931,506.80 it’s going to cost per day next time a person of color gets shot. We will call it #BLACKOUTDAY2020 July 7th, 2020 please spread the message let’s show REAL action that they fear!!!! #CallToAction #SpreadTheWord #BlackPower #blackdollar #unity

Posted by Calvin Martyr on Thursday, May 7, 2020

 

“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.”

Black Americans spent more than $1 trillion on consumer goods in just 2018, according to Nielsen.

The #BlackOutDay2020 campaign originated in early May following the February 23rd vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and the March 13th police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. The campaign was introduced about a month before the George Floyd tragedy that sparked waves of protests.

Last month, companies and individuals alike observed blackout day on June 2nd, by posting an all-black image showing support for Black Lives Matter.

Since then, city government officials nationwide have been pushing to dismantle, defund and end police departments. Such actions are gaining steam as a result of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. For example, a Minneapolis council has called for disbanding police, and a New York councilman has called for a $1bn divestment from the NYPD. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, San Francisco, and other cities, local policymakers have started expressing support for some form of defunding or opposing police budget increases as well.

Lawmakers in Congress have also begun a bipartisan push to defund the police and shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to local law enforcement departments. Senators Rand Paul and Brian Schatz Introduced the Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act, which aims to restrict military weaponry from police departments by adding an amendment in the annual defense policy bill.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza recently told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that growing calls to “defund the police” are not about eliminating police departments, but rather about reinvesting funds toward “the resources that our communities need.”

Black Lives Matter has a petition for everyone to sign to demand “defunding the police” and recognizing that “Black Lives Matter.”

 

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