Achieving economic freedom is no small feat but the Black Business Owners of Charlotte (BBOC) are determined to make a nationwide effort to do just that.

In honor of this year’s Juneteenth, BBOC is hosting its first National Buy Black Week with the goal of strengthening Black economic mobility across the country.

The campaign’s motto is “Igniting Economic Black Freedom” and will run from June 17 through June 23.

“As a culture, there is no time we pause and come together and say ‘Let’s support black businesses,’” said BBOC Founder Cathay Dawkins.

Black people in America are some of the most powerful consumers in the country. Making up 13.4 percent of the population, Black men and women consumers make up a significant portion of spending across beauty and personal personal care items, according to Nielsen.

In total Black people are racking in nearly $1.2 trillion in spending power, according to a 2018 report. National Buy Black Week will attempt pour those dollars back into our respective communities.

“If we could put those dollars back into our community we can see these businesses have that staying power, we can see them grow,” said BBOC Executive Team member and Editor-in-Chief of media outlet, The Black Connector Deborah Woolard. “We can actually see them multiply. If we can leave that legacy for our children, I think that’s awesome.”

Founded in 2014, BBOC is an organization that has more than 3,700 members to date, according to Dawkins. The organization has a number of local events and activities that are targeted at developing relationships between Black businesses owners and Black consumers.

BBOC Executive Team Courtesy of BBOC

According to the Economic Opportunity Project, Charlotte is ranked as the worst place for upward Black economic mobility in the country. Economic mobility is described as a child or family member’s ability to improve their economic status or income during their lifetime.

Spending more dollars on Black businesses is one of the major keys to unlocking sustainable economic mobility.

“Juneteenth is about freedom from slavery, and so we were thinking economic freedom,” Dawkins said.

BBOC will also be registering Black businesses to be featured on their site during the event. Participating businesses can be found at BuyBlackWeek.com.

As Black business owners claim their stake and build up their wealth, there are more opportunities to buy even the smallest essentials from Black businesses.

“It’s a way that we are able to encourage others to buy from Black owned businesses. We want it to not be an alternative but for it to be their first choice,” Woolard said.

Dawkins said his team have seen how their events can make a change in the Charlotte’s current mobility status. The organization has created a Facebook Marketplace for locals to connect with Black business owners and a biweekly Food Truck Friday event that has become a hub for BBOC to build its network.

“So if it can happen in Charlotte it could happen anywhere,” he said.

Courtesy of BBOC

WeBuyBlack.com and Black Wall Street are two popular marketplaces for people searching for a way to participate in National Buy Black Week. Between the two sites, one could find anything from Black-owned batteries to Black-owned deodorant.

“Whether it’s purchasing a vehicle from a Black-owned auto dealership or opening an account at a Black-owned bank, or even contacting a Black-owned real estate company to purchase our homes,” Woolard said.

“There is a conglomerate of Black-owned businesses that can be supported during National Buy Black Week and it goes far beyond the usual products,” Woolard said.

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