Few can deny the change in our nation’s climate since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Since that time, we have seen a wave of activism and demonstration that has not been seen since the days of Dr. King. For more than 200 days, people led by young adults across this nation have declared: ‘Enough is enough’ and have called on people from all walks of life to join them in the fight to hold those in power accountable and to call for justice and equality.
During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday, protesters called for supporters all over the country to refuse to shop on Black Friday and to occupy many of the shopping malls that would typically be bustling with shoppers eager for deals and steals.
The initiative was successful and struck a pretty heavy blow to the retail sectors. Now after several months of marching, rallying, and sit-ins, leaders spearheaded by Dr. Jamal Bryant are calling for a repeat of #HandsUPDon’t Spend.
It is projected that African American communities will have $1.1 trillion in collective buying power this year. However, if our communities stay true to form, only a very small percentage of this revenue will remain in our communities. The #HandsUpDontSpend initiative is scheduled to kick off on Good Friday. On that day, and every Friday following, members of the Black churches and the Black community at large are asked to only spend money in Black-owned businesses. In this way, we will be able to ensure that we are strengthening our communities by supporting them economically.
In many cities and towns, there are more Black-owned businesses than many realize. The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. offers a mobile app called USBC for iPhone and android users which offers a Black business directory that will utilize your phone’s GPS technology to help you locate the nearest Black-owned business. I encourage you to download the app today and commit to buying Black every Friday. Let’s make our voices heard by holding back our dollars.
(Rev. Shazetta Thompson-Hill is a wife, mother, pastor, writer and activist based in Jackson, Tennessee. If you have questions or comments, contact her via e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. You may also like her on Facebook @pastorzetty or follow her on twitter @minzetty.)