Make no mistake. “We are the Missing Piece” is boldly designed to promote conscious consumerism within the local African-American community. We believe that many of the issues that confront our communities could be improved if Black consumers corralled their impressive buying power ($1.1 trillion nationally and $4.78 billion locally) and consciously and deliberately chose to patronize Black-owned businesses when and wherever possible. The puzzle, of course, is only complete when Black business owners, in turn, support and fortify the communities that support them by providing jobs, contributing resources to important efforts and supporting other Black-owned businesses.
We are asking our readers to share the details of this campaign with your circle of influence and encourage others to take part. We have included talking points for you to share.
We certainly do not imagine that conscious consumerism is a cure all that will in one swoop provide the antidote for Black-on-Black crime, which is fueled all too often by a lack of economic parity and poor educational outcomes. However, conscious consumerism is a piece of the puzzle; and more importantly, it is the piece that each of us holds within our very own pockets, purses and wallets. Black America is in a state of emergency; and we cannot continue to give 94 percent of our income away and blame 100 percent of our problems on someone else.
It will take a purposeful effort, but not a difficult one. Think about it. Just $50 a week—it is the money many of us spend on gas, groceries or dining out. Instead of shopping, filling up your tank or stopping for lunch randomly, we urge you to choose Black-owned businesses so they can grow and have the capacity to create more jobs and support our community in other ways. And don’t forget to turn to the latest edition of The New Orleans BlackBook as a resource to locate Black businesses, professionals and service providers of all types.
Remember, we—all of us together—are the missing piece! So please join us in this effort.
We Are the Missing Piece Talking Points
In 2012, African-Americans had a buying power of nearly $1.1 trillion. That is how much we spent in the marketplace—groceries, gas, rents, mortgages, clothes, entertainment, sports equipment, healthcare, media, telephone services, charitable contributions, computers and electronics and so on.
With a buying power nearly of $1.1 trillion annually, if Blacks in America were a country, they’d be the 16th largest country in the world.
In 2011 alone, Blacks in the New Orleans metropolitan area spent $203 million on clothing and related services (apparel, alterations, dry cleaning, etc.) and $218 million on the purchase of new and used automobiles.
There is not a single industry category in which Black-owned businesses capture more than 50 percent of all Black spending, including the healthcare and skin/hair/nails industries.
Currently, African-Americans spend only six cents of every dollar they spend with Black-owned businesses.
About 64 percent of all workers employed by Black-owned businesses are African-American.
If Black consumers doubled their spending with Black-owned businesses and spent 12 cents of every dollar with Black-owned businesses, those businesses could hire an additional 589,460 Black people, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.
Money circulates zero to one time within the Black community, compared to the more than six times it circulates in the Latino community, nine times in the Asian community and unlimited amount of times within the white community, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.
If only 100,000 African-Americans living in the New Orleans metro area committed to spending $50 a week with Black-owned businesses, it would generate $5 million circulating in the Black community each week.