(WBRE/WYOU-TV) — July 7th is one part protest and one part celebration. It’s Blackout Day 2020.
“More so than any other community, we have a fleeting dollar. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that under the green, there’s a little bit of black too,” community organizer Daryl Lewis said.
A national call to not spend a dime unless it’s supporting black business. Boycotting in one regard, but there’s a positive side to the coin.
“I feel like Blackout Day is a representation of support, collection, and representation, more so,” black business owner Heather Rhodes said.
Many black business owners feel they’ve made it against stacked odds and they’ve earned your support.
“The importance of it isn’t just to buy and spend your money. It’s to represent that we encourage black business,” Rhodes said.
Blackout Day is meant to be more than a financial stand against oppression.
“This is a great opportunity for you to know some newer businesses and also get familiar with the black-owned businesses in our community. I think it shows solidarity with the black community also your local community,” Black Scranton Project founder Glynis Johns said.
Those supporting the black community, challenged to be the change they want to see by researching before spending.
“For people who are trying to be allies or trying to be supporters, you just need to take that extra step to do that,” Johns said.
Across the nation and right here in NEPA, Blackout Day urges communities to go above and beyond.
“Black communities tend to either not make those choices consciously or don’t have that option available to them. That’s why there’s a large push to encourage shopping in black communities and black-owned businesses. To also show the nation that as a whole that our money does matter,” Lewis said.
A form of protest much like rallying or marching — furthering the case.
“Protests are just one form of action. Buying black is just one form of action. The more times we do these things? The more solidified change will happen,” Johns said.
Rhodes cites the fact it’s been less than 150 years since black people have had the legal right to learn how to read, let alone own and operate a business.
“We just got the invitation to the party and we’re showing up dressed to the nines and we’re doing it. But we need support every single day so that we can catch up and have our fair slice of the pie or seat at the table or even to be able to have our own table,” Rhodes said.
“We’re intending to make systemic changes to the way that black people are perceived, the way we perceive ourselves and the way we interact with our communities; both socially and financially,” Lewis said.
For a list of local black-owned businesses to support, check out this directory from Black Scranton Project.