I’ve had an idea for about 12 years: to choose one day to spend with Black businesses and call it Black Pound Day. I decided to launch it this summer because of the Black Lives Matter protests in London. I thought: How can I engage with this in a positive way? I wanted to redirect the energy in our city. Instead of being political activists, people could be economic activists. Emotions come and go but spending with Black businesses can help rebuild our community.
The discrimination that we face is at all levels: education, health, employment, the justice system and as entrepreneurs. It’s important people understand how discrimination affects us holistically as a community. It’s a long line of economic disparity which goes back to the slave trade. It’s systemic – and things need to change. Black Pound Day is something people can engage with to help rebalance that.
We have to become conscious spenders
Since the launch in June, businesses have been highlighted in a way they haven’t before. It’s positive for Black businesses to have a day to say: here I am, this is what I do, engage with me. And it means consumers can give back in an instantaneous way. One business owner said he made five figures on Black Pound Day, which helped him exponentially in this uncertain period. Another woman told me she’d been saving up to pay for her son’s tuition, and on Black Pound Day she managed to finish raising the funds.
I want us to continue this initiative on the first Saturday of every month. I want us to have more spaces in shopping centres and supermarkets. I’d also like [the anniversary of the first] Black Pound Day to become a national day. It launched on June 27 and the date is important to me: 27 is the inverse of 72 and we were celebrating 72 years of the Windrush Generation this year in June.
I’ve been spending Black for more than a decade, but a lot of people haven’t thought about it. We have to become conscious spenders to address the economic injustices that affect the Black community. The more people become aware of that, the better society we’ll live in.
The next Black Pound Day is on Nov 7. And even though we can't visit most businesses in person right now, there are still plenty of ways to show your support. Order takeaways, buy online, click-and-collect... and then look forward to visiting them when lockdown ends.
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