Restaurant patrons are showing solidarity with the legacy of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter by supporting black business owners. The idea is to prioritize black-owned establishments to financially support underprivileged and disproportionately COVID-19 affected black business owners. Across the nation, major news outlets are running articles highlighting black-owned restaurants so that patrons can easily choose a local eatery, including Boston Globe, Entrepreneur, Delish, and newspaper giant McClatchy’s Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee.
According to Google Trends, queries for black-owned have more increased 10-fold within the last seven days. As of today, the popularity of its subcategory “black-owned restaurants” is up almost 100-fold. Books on racial and criminal justice topics are also topping bestseller lists.
Today is Blackout Tuesday, a single-day event that started as The Show Must Be Paused that is ostensibly about going offline to take a day off work to reflect about black civic issues. In reality, it has morphed into a buzzing online movement with millions of users posting blank black squares to all social media platforms and comments using hashtags #BlackoutTuesday #BlackLivesMatter and #TheShowMustBePaused.
A list of black-owned restaurants in various major cities can be found here. Small businesses employ 60 million people, or roughly half the U.S. workforce. Before the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 15 million of those workers were employed directly or indirectly by nearly 500,000 independent restaurants across the country.
Aptly summarized by Julliard, “We recognize that there is much work to be done listening, learning, and further becoming a community that not only rejects racism, but that is actively anti-racist, working to tear down systemic racism and injustice.” More supportive posts rained down across social media. “We’re taking this time to listen, learn, and reflect #blackouttuesday” posted a restaurant owner today. “Together We Stand! #blackouttuesday” says another. “Consider supporting a Black owned restaurant/pop-up in your area. Today, with #BlackOutTuesday would be a perfect day,” adds a restaurant patron.
Minnesota State launched a civil rights investigation today into the Minneapolis Police Department in hopes of forcing widespread changes following the death of George Floyd. New York City has extended its curfew through June 7 after another night of continued looting and rioting. Today marked the fifth day of Black Lives Matter protests in Washington DC.