How Philly’s African-American Leaders, Business Owners Are Encouraging Residents to “Buy Black”

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The “iBuyBlack” discount card costs just $10 to purchase. (Image courtesy of PCOL)

A new community program in West Philadelphia is encouraging residents to spend their hard-earned cash at local Black-owned businesses. Even better, they’ll be rewarded with discounts each time they do so.

Community leaders and Black business owners have banded together to launch an “iBuyBlack” discount card that offers markdowns of up to 15 percent each time a shopper buys from local, participating businesses, Philly station WPVI reported. The ultimate goal? To push more people to patronize Black businesses, thus keeping Black dollars circulating within the Black community.

“On average, a dollar earned by a Black worker stays in the Black community for only six hours,” said Michael Rashid, former president and CEO of AmeriHealth/Caritas. “Compare that to the white community, in which dollars circulate for 17 days. That’s wealth-building.”

“It has nothing to do with racism,” he added. “It’s just spending your own money in your own family.”

Jude Arijaje of Minuteman Press in South Philly echoed Rashid’s sentiments, adding that spending money in your own community translates into helping your community to grow, prosper and thrive.

“The more customers we have, the more capacity we’re able to build, the more people we can employ, the more people we’re able to get off the streets,” Arijaje said.

Philly.com reported that nearly 80 business have already signed up to participate in the “iBuyBlack” program, sponsored by local organization Philadelphia Community of Leaders. The discount card itself costs just $10 and offers markdowns each time cardholders use it at participating businesses. Proceeds from the card will go toward supporting PCOL, which hosts community celebrations like Juneteenth and other civic events every year, Philly.com reported.

“Our goal is to recruit 500 businesses and 10,000 Philadelphians to purchase the iBuyBlack discount card by the end of this year,” said Earl Harvey, sales director for iBuyBlack.org and a member of the African American Chamber of Commerce.

Currently, there are about 1,500 “iBuyBlack” cardholders.

Rashid, who owns a child care academy with his wife in West Philly, said the idea for the community discount program was borrowed from a similar model in Detroit. He argued that if local residents spent just 9 percent of their collective dollars supporting Black businesses, “we could employ every single man, woman and child within the Black community.”

“Strong Black businesses are good for the entire community, with the potential to lower crime and create jobs,” he said. “All people should make a point of supporting Black businesses.”

PCOL didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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