Activists Launch the Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign

Activists Launch the Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign

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By Ayana Jones by The Philadelphia Tribune

A coalition of media owners, professional and political organizations have launched the Million Dollar Black Spending Power campaign – an initiative geared toward reclaiming Black economic power.

The coalition is calling on African American consumers across the nation to redirect a minimum of $20 per week in spending to Black-owned businesses. The organizers project that this effort may turn one million dollars per week back into predominately Black communities throughout the country.

The initiative is the brainchild of Bob Law, longtime radio personality, entrepreneur and community activist, who recently sent an open letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, highlighting the assault on Black-owned radio and requesting the CBC to bring the matter to the attention of the Federal Communications Commission and the full Congress.

“From the corporate community to other ethnic groups, every community seems to benefit from Black spending except the Black community. We fully intend to renegotiate the Black community’s financial relationship with corporate America and others doing business in the African American marketplace. We believe however that a significant starting point is for Black Americans to first take control of our own spending,” Law said in a release.

The cooperative effort also includes Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa and professor and chair Department of Africana Studies, California State University, Long Beach: Norm Bond, activist and chairman of the National Alliance of Market Developers; Professor Jim Clingman of the University of Cincinnati, author and syndicated columnist; and Sara Lomax-Reese, president and general manager of 900AM WURD in Philadelphia. The effort has garnered the endorsement of Maggie Anderson, CEO of the Empowerment Experiment and author of “Our Black Year.”

The African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report released by Nielsen and the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) notes that Black consumers have a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion. However, organizers of the Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign contend that this money is not reaching the Black community.

Campaign organizers plan to mobilize Black consumer dollars through ongoing nationwide activities. The activities include Recycle Black Dollars shopping tours, e-commerce utilizing online business directories, websites, social media, Buy Black Meetup Groups, referral networks and educational events including community forums and local community based expos.

Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the nation, is also a key market for the coalition members.

“Philly is the hub for this effort. It’s a national effort but Philadelphia is the lead city and what we do here is going to be the model and the blueprint for all the other cities around the country. When we look all around the country, the city that has the most elements to make this is a success is Philadelphia.” said Bond.

Coalition media partners are going to call on their audiences to support the effort. Local radio station 900AM WURD, the only Black-owned radio station in Pennsylvania, has agreed to support conscious consumerism through their programming and additional activities.

“We want this effort to be sustained. This is a movement. There is no end date. We are going to keep doing this until we’ve moved the needle. The success of this is going to come from people embracing it at a grassroots level. This is not just something that is for the middle class,

The effort comes at a time when African Americans face an unemployment rate of 13.8 percent. Bond said if the grassroots community went from two to 10 percent of their spending with Black-owned business that could lead to job creation.

For information about the campaign visit www.BuyBlackAllYearLong.com.

Contact Staff Writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or ajones@phillytrib.com.

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