HOUSTON - Consumers showed their support for Black-owned businesses across Houston for Blackout Day, a social media movement for racial and economic equality.
The organizers of Blackout Day say they wanted Black Americans to boycott businesses outside the Black community to underscore their economic power. But supporters hope everyone in the community will support Black businesses.
Voices rang out in the streets for racial justice during protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Now the sound of economic power rings out at the cash register for racial equality on Blackout Day.
"The African American community is open for business, we're ready, we're waiting, we're happy to do the work at a fair price," said Sean Riddick, CEO of Vector Energy, a solar energy company he founded.
Added Carol Guess, Chair of the Greater Houston Black Chamber, "The African American community as a whole in this country is said to contribute $1.5 trillion to our economy. We hope that some of that is diverted today to help these businesses out."
These business leaders hope the entire community will support Black-owned businesses, as many have faced hardships even getting financing to open.
"Providing financing, being debt or equity, is all about managing risk. I think the African American community, in general, has just been viewed as more risky and therefore makes it difficult to get loans," explained Riddick.
"One thing I think the community can do to help is changing your heart, recognizing that African Americans are just as smart, just as intelligent, just as ambitious, and give us an opportunity," suggested Guess.
The Greater Houston Black Chamber says only seven percent of small businesses are Black-owned. They hope Blackout Day could be theoretical "seed money" to change that trend for longer than just today.
"It's got to be an everyday sort of thing. Not just one day, but every day," said Riddick.
"It's important to support African American businesses because we hire people. We also contribute to the overall economy. So supporting our business is supporting you, the community," said Guess.
You can find lists of local Black-owned businesses on FOX 26 Houston, in the Greater Houston Black Chamber's Buy Black Directory, and in the Houston Black Pages.