If you’ve been on social media today, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #BlackOutDay2020 trending. But just what is Blackout Day 2020? In short, it’s a Black Lives Matter-adjacent moment that aims to highlight the importance of Black lives to the economy.
Here’s everything you need to know:
- Where the Black Lives Matter protests that have spread across the globe this year can be seen as social protests, Blackout Day can be seen as economic protests—though both have the same end-goal: highlighting the importance of Black lives and forcing politicians to end institutionally racist policies that are embedded in society.
- As the Brookings Institute points out, Black Americans make up 13% of the population but hold just 2.6% of the wealth.
- However, as Neilsen notes, Black buying power surged to $1.3 trillion in 2018. In 1990, it was just $320 billion. And between 2000–2018, Black buying power rose 114%, while white buying power only rose 89%.
- Blackout Day sprang up after Calvin Martyr, an activist from Texas, posted a YouTube video on May 8, 2020. In the (at times) very moving video, Martyr urged Black people to flex their economic muscle and not spend a single dollar for just one day at any business that wasn’t Black-owned. You can check out Martyr’s video at the bottom of this article.
- As Martyr explains in the video’s blurb: “Although this movement is exclusively targeted at empowering and uplifting Black people all over the world, we welcome ALL people of color to stand with us in solidarity. Black people alone account for an estimated $1.2 trillion or more of spending in the economy annually. Together we have $3.9 trillion in economic spending power. While we welcome allies who choose to stand with us, we make absolutely no apology for the fact this movement is FOR US & BY US.”
- Thus Blackout Day 2020 was born, and it takes place today, July 7, 2020. Major companies including Procter & Gamble and Cisco Systems have publicly announced support for the movement.
- You can find out more about Blackout Day 2020 at the movement’s official website.