Blackout Day 2020 asks people to spend money at Black-owned businesses, or don't shop at all

CHICAGO (WLS) -- July 7 has been designated as Blackout Day 2020, in which Blacks are being asked to spend their dollars only at black-owned businesses or refrain from spending money at all.

The business boycott hopes to send a message at the checkout counter about racial inequality.

The owner of Majani restaurant hasn't had time to check the figures, but he knows businesses has been up in recent weeks as customers have been more conscious about supporting Black-owned businesses.

"It's critically important for a community to have people who live here and work here and have businesses here; it's the only way a community is going to grow and thrive," said Tsadakeeyah Ben Emmanuel, owner of Majani.

Blackout Day 2020 may get attention Tuesday, but some say in order for there to be lasting change, that purposeful spending needs to extend beyond a single day.

"It has to go beyond a one-day event," said Sam Scott, retired chairman of Corn Products International. "It has to be something that has been thought out appropriately and it has to be something directed as an outcome."

Some South Shore residents have planned ways to support Black-owned businesses beyond Blackout Day. They will host outdoor events to highlight Black-owned small businesses, calling the collaboration "The Lemonade Land."

"With this pandemic and people being isolated and sheltering in place, we really need a way that people can connect with customers," said Saba Favors of The Lemonade Land and Cutie Bumps.

"We matter, and sometimes to show that Black people matter you have to show that Black dollars matter," said Crystal Jackson of The Lemonade Land and Portraits of Myoho.

The Lemonade Land is planning its first pop-up event at a vacant lot at 67th and Dorchester on July 18.
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