On Black Friday, Shop at Black-Owned Businesses

Daniel Agnew wants to redirect thousands of dollars from Walmart to small businesses run by black people. He has a plan: This year on Black Friday, November 27, he hopes to organize a pop-up marketplace of 100 vendors at Betty T. Fergusson Park in Miami Gardens. It's less than half a mile from the massive Walmart on 27th Avenue, and he hopes to attract big-box shoppers (and their money) to support local black business owners.

“This event is geared toward shifting the paradigm of black economics throughout South Florida,” Agnew says. “Our mission is to redirect hundreds of thousands of dollars of frivolous spending to a place where the reallocation of black capital will benefit communities of color.”

Last year, Agnew and five other Dream Defender activists cofounded Roots Collective, a group harnessing support to stop the oppression of South Florida's black communities. After witnessing developers gentrify swaths of land in predominantly black communities, Agnew and other activists wanted to create a network of black businesses and an event to support them.

"There is a quote by Malcolm X that goes, 'You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress.' The only way to heal our community is to remove the knife and begin to heal the wounds that have been left by systems that oppress and marginalize people of color," Agnew says. "The first step is to begin supporting your own."

They settled on November 27, Black Friday. Agnew's goal is to host 100 vendors, and he's currently reaching out to business owners. “From curry makers to clothing and book stores, I'm launching all these contacts and trying to build a strong base,” he says. 

During the 2012 Black Friday weekend, there were more than 1,000 protests outside Walmarts across the country. But that year, Walmart reported its best-ever Black Friday, reporting that it served 22 million customers and raked in almost $60 billion in sales. That year, Walmart reported making $444 billion in sales. Agnew hopes that even if one Walmart customer attends the Black Friday Marketplace instead, the event will be considered a success. “We need sustainability within our community,” Agnew says. “The idea is redirect the funds from big-money outlets like Walmart and redirect those funds to benefit the community.”

The specifics of the Black Friday Marketplace are still being worked out. But Agnew reports that activists are also collaborating on a church drive for Thanksgiving too. Last year, activists gathered 40 turkeys to feed 40 families who couldn't afford a Thanksgiving dinner. Now, Agnew says they're trying to collect 200 to 300 turkeys for local families. “The team really stepped up last year and made the event accessible to so many families,” Agnew says. “Now we're trying to play an even bigger role and quadruple last year's goal.”

For more information about Black Friday Marketplace, check out Facebook and Instagram
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson