Blackout battle brews for July 7 as boycott sparks counter-boycott

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A social media campaign aimed at holding a nationwide economic boycott in the wake of George Floyd’s death has sparked a counter-movement.

The #BlackOutDay2020 boycott, set for July 7, initially called for people to only shop at black-owned businesses, but has now become a call for a shopping boycott for one day. Critics of the move and of weeks of Black Lives Matter protests are responding with suggestions for a shopping spree, instead.

“This movement is an awakening of the national consciousness of black people in America and abroad. We need economic solidarity in America amongst all black people unequivocally,” the group’s website states. “In order to break free from the chains of financial servility, we will organize days, weeks, months, and years if necessary when not one black person in America will spend a dollar outside of our community.”

“Black people alone account for an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars or more of spending in the economy annually. Together we have 3.9 trillion dollars in economic spending power. While we welcome allies who choose to stand with us, we make absolutely no apology for the fact this movement is FOR US & BY US,” the site adds, declaring that the blackouts will continue “until the system is broken and we have risen to power as a people.”

Texas resident Calvin Martyr began the movement in early May and the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody gave it a jolt of momentum, with the July 7 date being touted as a day that “not one black person in America spends a dollar.”

A separate hashtag #BlackoutTuesday was used earlier this month to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following Floyd’s death.

Rapper and producer T.I. told his social media followers he was supporting the #BlackOutDay2020 and urged them to do the same.

But the many social media posts about the coming boycott sparked a movement of a different sort as some Twitter users pushed back, announcing plans to mark their calendars and spend that day shopping.

Other Twitter users issued a reality check.

 

Frieda Powers

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