The “Blackout Monday” movement is picking up steam in Kansas City as more and more of the city’s residents are opting to only shop at Black-owned businesses on Monday as a response to the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
It has been a month since 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot multiple times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
For weeks, protests and rallies have continued in Ferguson and in other major cities across the U.S., including New York City and Atlanta.
Now, residents of Kansas City want to make a change by putting their money back into their own communities.
The “Blackout Monday” movement, organized by the National Black United Front, has African-Americans shopping at Black-owned businesses because only then will those companies be able to reach out and employ more Black people in the community.
In Kansas City, Black residents have been flocking to Leon’s, one of the only Black-owned grocery stores in the area.
“The importance is we have spending power, which means we have the power to make change,” Taty Richards, a member of the Buy Black Empowerment Initiative, told Fox 4 in Kansas City. “In order to get the change made, you have to be heard. We’re going to pull our money out and hold it and put it in our businesses in our community.”
Organizers of the Buy Black Empowerment Initiative, the same initiative that sparked “Blackout Monday,” say the African-American community has more than $1 trillion in spending power across the country.
“I feel that if we start empowering each other that we all can grow,” Leon August of Leon’s Thriftway told Fox 4. “It will bring more jobs to the community, to the neighborhood. People who can’t drive all the way to the bigger supermarkets.”
He went on to say that the movement can really help “mom and pop” stores and make the African-American community “stronger.”
In order to help with the movement, the Black United Front has launched a Buy Black KC app for both Android and iPhones.
The app will help its users identify which business in the area are Black-owned so they can know where to focus their spending.
According to Fox 4, organizers hope to grow the efforts of the blackout to include Fridays and holidays.