June 8, 2018 by Administrator
Maggie Anderson wants you to “let down your bucket” and do all you can to support black-owned businesses – no excuses. She’s been called a racist, endured death threats and has protesters who follow her, all for trying to help “rescue the African American community” while improving the American economy.
“If you don’t even try, all of us fail,” Anderson said during her keynote address in Newark for a dfree® King Day event on Jan. 16. “It’s not so hard…just do a little more.”
She said one million new jobs will be created in America if the black middle class only increases its spending with black-owned businesses from two percent to 10 percent of their total spending. Author of One Black Year, Anderson and her family documented how a little support can help black businesses when they lived for one year exclusively off businesses and services provided by the African American community. Now, Anderson has created maggieslist.com to make it even easier for you to find and support black-owned businesses.
“Now how can our community be strong, how can we revitalize, as is our theme tonight, if we don’t show the same kind of economic solidarity and entrepreneurial excellence that the other racial and ethnic groups and nationalities do?” Anderson posed. “How are we even going to call ourselves a community if we have no economic control, no entrepreneurial fortitude or foundation? If our businesses are not sound enough, strong enough and supported enough to be passed on?”
Anderson kicked off her speech by reminding the audience of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s push to end economic injustice. She quoted King as saying, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” She also said that black-owned businesses funded the civil rights movement, including bailing King out of jail when needed.
“We can’t celebrate black history without celebrating black businesses,” Anderson said. She later noted how the number of black-owned businesses in America has diminished while other ethnic groups are flourishing by comparison. For instance, she said, there are 48 Hispanic-owned grocery chains in America while the number of black-owned grocery stores has dwindled to single digits.
“The hard part of this work is making sure our people participate,” Anderson said, “to openly proclaim that supporting black businesses is right and necessary for our survival, and for our country’s greatness.”
Learn more about Anderson and The Empowerment Experiment. The event was sponsored by: Urban League of Union County Young Professionals with dfree®, Rutgers University’s The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, the Urban League of Essex County and ULEC Young Professionals.