We take a look at National Blackout Day and what it means

JOPLIN, Mo. – Today is National Blackout Day. We explain what that is and why it’s important to the Black community.

National Blackout Day is something that’s not new, but has received new attention this year, following the death of George Floyd, and the civil unrest and calls for justice that followed. Dola Flake with Joplin For Justice says “So the idea was that Black people would be encouraged not to spend any money and if they had to it would be with Black business, just to really be able to measure the impact that our economic spending has as Black people.”

Flake says she hopes it makes a difference. “I do think it’s very important just to show solidarity and also to be able to measure a little bit of what the economic impact of Black spending has, I do think it’s a loud message, I’m interested to see if we’re able to really tell by spending numbers the difference.”

The Den Nutrition and Energy is one of the many Black-owned businesses in Joplin. Gary McKnight is the owner, and he says while he supports the Blackout Day, he feels people need to support all local businesses, regardless. “I don’t want to put an emphasis on coming to Black businesses, because, I mean as Joplin and part of the Joplin Commerce, we want to support all businesses, all small businesses.”

McKnight says he hopes the movement as a whole brings awareness to the issues facing the Black community. “The movement does have a place, it’s supporting the Black Lives Matter movement which all I’m about, as far as the judicial system being not as fair as it is.”

For Flake, she knows no matter what you do, there are ways to help fight injustices. “I would just say that even if you’re not participating in the National Blackout Day, there’s so many ways to get involved and to stand for justice, and so we’ll each use our own skill set and our own time to figure out exactly how we can be most effective doing that.”

Joplin For Justice has compiled a list of businesses owned by people of color in Joplin. You can click here to be taken to that list.