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Groups mark successful Blackout Day

Black America and allies use massive spending power

Lisa Fitch Editor-in-chief | 7/16/2020, midnight

“Today: Buy-Black or Don't Buy at All. Stand with Us in Solidarity. Today is Blackout Day, a day of solidarity to take an economic stand against racism and brutality by refusing to spend any money outside of Black-owned businesses. #BLACKOutDay2020.”

USBC President Ron Busby went before the Congressional Committee on Financial Services: Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion to voice the concerns of Black business owners on July 9.

“Black business owners historically and presently face systemic barriers to resources and access to capital, to name a few,” Busby said. The facts outlined in the 2019 Federal Reserve Bank report demonstrate the American banking institution is still systemically discriminatory, predatory, and racist.”

During the virtual hearing, which was titled “Access Denied: Challenges for Women and Minority Owned Businesses Accessing Capital and Financial Services during the Pandemic” Busby noted that the USBC represents 145 Chambers across the country.

“Clearly minority and women owned businesses —MWBEs—are critical components of the nation's vast economy,” Busby told the subcommittee. “Collectively, they provide in upwards of one trillion in annual receipts and contribute more than 9 million jobs to the country's labor market. MWBE's are the fastest growing segment of businesses.

“Despite this extraordinary impact, it is Black business owners and entrepreneurs that history and data show face systemic barriers to entrepreneurial resources and access to capital among other daunting challenges.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) is the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, which oversees the subcommittee and is hosting a number of virtual hearings during the pandemic.

“The country lost 3.3 million small businesses. in the first and second quarters of the year,” Busby said, noting that 41 percent of those businesses were Black. “Nearly 450,000 Black businesses closed between the months of February and April. Black unemployment peaked at nearly 17 percent last month.

Busby insists that government and the public support of Black-owned businesses is of tantamount importance.

“Of the 650 thousand PPP loans made above $150,000 only 143 balck firms received a loan of that size,” Busby said. “Ninety percent of members of the Black chambers reported they received far less than they asked for or none at all.”