Blackout Monday encourages shoppers to buy at black-owned businesses

The Aug. 9 shooting in Ferguson, Mo., that created a firestorm of protests inspired a new kind of public protest on Monday.

The anonymous organizer rallied troops of shoppers for what was called Blackout Monday.

Days of unrest and protests followed the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed Ferguson teen, who was shot and killed by a white police officer.

Instead of protests on the streets, an anonymous organizer asked people to buy at only black-owned and operated stores on Monday.

It’s why the manager at Leon’s Thriftway in east Kansas City hoped to make a little more money than usual.

“We should support each other,” manager Stevan August said.

The Blackout Monday effort asked people to spend their money at African American businesses to stand in solidarity with the black community and supporters of the Michael Brown family.

The Blackout Monday email flyer was specific:

“No fast food restaurants or sit down restaurants unless they are black owned and operated!!! Continue to go to work and school, just don’t spend any money … the black dollar will make an impact!!”

But August said people should also participate to support those, like Leon’s Thriftway, who have supported the black community in past days of struggle.

“He (the owner) was so loyal to his people in this community he chose to stay here so they’d have a grocery store in this community… supporting each other like we used to and showing we care about each other,” August said.

Few shoppers seemed familiar with Blackout Monday. Still, several local African American owned and operated businesses said they did get new business.

Peachtree Restaurant owner, Roy Wilmore, said, “Yes, it has. Our Mondays are typically busy, but today was a lot busier.”

Owners said more solidarity eventually means more money, and more money means more power.

“I think it’s a great movement,” restaurant patron, Steve Graves, said.

However Graves thought people should support businesses they love year round not because of an issue he called divisive and racial.

“I’m going to support a business if they’re doing good business regardless of color,” Graves said. “I think it’s something we should do regardless of Ferguson.”

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