SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Community activists want Savannah to celebrate a national movement Tuesday encouraging everyone to shop exclusively at black-owned businesses. The trend — called #BlackOutDay 2020 — spread to hundreds of thousands of people through The Blackout Coalition Facebook page.
“The movement is a pro-solution, non-violent social injustice, consequence movement…really looking to invest, uplift and empower the black community,” said Natalie Leggette a local organizer who put together a large expo in less than two weeks.
Leggette says Savannah’s history of peaceful protests and support for black-owned businesses makes it a great host for an expo on Tuesday. She has invited dozens of business owners to show off their products to attendees.
Lendard Harris is one of them. He designed a helmet, which he hopes will reduce concussions and injuries around the country. He says hardships facing African American establishments started many years ago.
“We didn’t know how to deal with commerce or money exchange. We had no idea how to economically… we weren’t taught how to handle money,” he explained, adding that he wants to be an inspiration to people and business owners at the expo.
“Come on out and see yourself,” said Harris. “Look in the mirror of yourself … and become who you can be. It’s our time, it’s the people’s time.”
Leggette says Calvin Martyr, the national organizer of #BlackOutDay, will attend the event in Savannah to take part in a panel. Panelists will create a discussion on how to build your legacy within the community.
Organizers say they have ample measures in place to protect people attending the event. They will be sanitizing surfaces and ensuring that everyone is social distancing.
Masks will be required at the event at the Progressive Center on Highway 17, which runs from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Leggette says there will be music and food trucks.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the treasures that are here in Savannah,” said Leggette. “Sometimes we see this stuff on National news, but right here in Savannah, we have great black-owned businesses we need to support.”