We often hear about Black Spending power is around $1.5 Trillion annually and black people are the largest consumer group in the USA and collectively Black Americans aggregated wealth would make us the 9th wealthiest nation in the world. These statistics are really great but the problem is we aren’t benefiting from our buying power, we aren’t benefiting from being the largest consumer group and we aren’t building wealth in our neighborhoods. This is why #TheShift is necessary.
What is #TheShift?
#TheShift is the reallocation of our dollars into our Black owned Businesses and predominately neighborhoods. It’s about creating and distributing wealth to our families to improve the average Black family’s quality of life. Some would question why should we focus on this, “you don’t hear other ethnic groups saying this”. My response is other groups aren’t talking about this because supporting their community first has been fostered within their culture generation after generation until it has become ingrained and a societal norm for them. As for Black Americans every time we attempted to build and acquire wealth our people, communities and cities were destroyed through economic terrorism.
#TheShift has to begin with us changing our spending habits. GRABB challenges our community to purchase $30 or more from Black businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids Area through our #30days30dollars campaign. #TheShift seeks to slow the leakage of dollars leaving our neighborhoods. We have to make the average dollar stay in the Black community longer than 6 hours which is current length of time it remains in the Black community. Our neighborhoods are willfully being bled dry of its wealth because we run as fast as we can to the nearest Mall, Nail Salon and Restaurant and hand them 98% of our money and save 2% for our own businesses. The only reason it’s not 100% is because we typically don’t trust those outside of our people to do our hair but we’ll buy our hair care products from them (that makes a lot of sense right?).
One reason we have such high percentage of leakage in the Black community is we don’t own the type of businesses with the products and/or services where the majority of us are spending our Dollars. With that being said, we have some great Black businesses in the Grand Rapids with great products and services. The challenge we have is locating, supporting and championing our businesses. This creates a plethora of business opportunities for those looking to go into business for themselves. Grand Rapids in an entrepreneurial city so if we are missing/lacking the type of businesses and industries that would allow us to spend more dollars within our own communities then it our responsibility to launch them.
Positive Impact from #TheShift
- If we increase our spending within our businesses from 2% to 10% we can create jobs for the unemployed and underemployed in our community.
- Increases the amount of Dollar$ flowing in and around the community that can be used for community revitalization efforts.
- Improve the quality of life indicators for the families and children in our community.
- Reduces the Wealth Gap between Black households and White households which there is currently a $95,000 difference between them. The average Black household having about $5,000 in Wealth. Wealth = Assets (Cash Savings + Home + Retirement accounts + etc.) – Debt (credit card balance + mortgages + etc.)
For #TheShift to happen we have to create and foster the “Take care of home first” mentality.