Push to support Black-owned businesses intensifies amid Black Lives Matter movement, Juneteenth

White Americans, non-Black people of color encouraged to patronize Black-owned businesses in support of Black advancement

Protesters chant as they march after a Juneteenth rally at the Brooklyn Museum, Friday, June 19, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Recent killings of Black Americans have triggered a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement nationwide, and many people are looking for ways to support the cause.

In an effort to bring awareness to police brutality and racism in the U.S., activists have been busy both on the ground and online, demanding change at protests and sharing informative resources on social media.

One initiative aimed to support the movement has taken the internet -- and Detroit -- by storm: Shopping at Black-owned businesses.

Across the country Americans are calling on one another to “vote with their dollar” by seeking out and supporting small Black-owned businesses. By shopping at Black businesses, White Americans and non-Black people of color can directly fund the Black community to show their support.

A number of organizations are making it easy for people to get involved: Digital lists have been compiled and shared across the internet to help customers locate and support Black-owned businesses.

The push to support Black-owned businesses ramped up this week amid Juneteenth celebrations in addition to the national protests.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865 when the last African American slaves were notified of their freedom. Though not an official U.S. holiday, the date has garnered significant attention this year amid the Black Lives Matter protest and national unrest.

Detroit has been celebrating the holiday all week, and even unveiled a new art installation on Woodward Avenue on Friday in solidarity with Black Americans and the national efforts to acknowledge and condemn racism.

SEE: Students complete Juneteenth street mural along Woodward in Detroit

However, there was an initial push to patronize Black-owned businesses when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the country in March. Though economies across the state and country suffered due the pandemic, Black-owned businesses have been at a higher risk of going under.

Data from JP Morgan Chase shows that 94% of businesses in primarily Black communities have cash reserves of fewer than 14 days, compared to 35% of businesses in majority White communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are nearly 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the country.

In addition to the national outrage against police brutality and racism, racial inequities have recently been a popular subject as Black Americans experience disparities in health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in April, Black Americans comprised 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths but only accounted for 14 percent of the state’s population.

MORE: Poll: Black Americans most likely to know a COVID-19 victim

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.