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New York, NY – A coalition of Black media owners, professional and political organizations are calling on African American consumers across the nation to begin immediately to redirect a minimum of $20.00 per week in spending to Black-owned businesses. The initiative being called “The Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign” is being organized by local groups in a number of key cities. It is projected that even with minimal support this effort may turn one million dollars per week back into predominantly 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 FCC and the full Congress.
According to the African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report released by Nielsen and the NNPA, Black consumers have a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion. The Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign raises the question “where is the money?” It is not reaching the Black community argue the organizers. Additionally, scholars who convened an African American Economic Summit at Howard University in early February sketched a very bleak economic future for Black Americans, noting that the wealth gap between Blacks and Whites has grown since “The Great Recession”. For every $1.00 in Black wealth, Whites now have $20.00. Further, Black communities suffer the highest unemployment rates, the lowest median family income, and the highest levels of consumer debt.
“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” said Law.
Norm Bond added, “There was a time when African Americans controlled their own economy. If you look at the 1910 Census, there were more African American entrepreneurs than Whites. Today with all of the communication tools at our disposal, the tremendous consumer spending, and the urgent need to create jobs within the Black community, we must raise our collective consciousness and bring that entrepreneurial spirit forward again through massive action.”
Through ongoing nationwide activities we will begin to mobilize Black consumer dollars. These 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. In addition coalition media partners are going to call on their audiences to support the effort. Philadelphia, the 5th largest city in the nation is also a key market for the coalition members. 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.
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.