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Leon Kaye headshot

Giving: The Big Takeaway from Black Xmas

By Leon Kaye
Black Xmas

The Black Lives Matter Global Network is again promoting Black Xmas which, as more of a movement and less of a holiday, is centered around three pillars: Build Black, Buy Black and Bank Black.

Much of the chatter in the press covering Black Xmas sums up its organizers as calling for a “boycott” of “white companies,” but these stories are obfuscating the real message of this movement. Never mind the fact that the movement’s website doesn’t mention a boycott at all, at least one politician has called ties to the movement “anti-American.” Facts left out of these articles include the reality that as many as 40 percent of Black-owned businesses closed for good during the pandemic as federal relief efforts often failed to help this community.

The movement takes aim at “white-supremacist-capitalism.” For those who may be triggered by the term, take a step back and consider what’s happened to the manufacturing base in cities across the U.S., the financial industry’s contribution to the intergenerational wealth gap, and the treatment of frontline and essential workers during the pandemic. Meanwhile, many Black business owners felt alone in solving the challenges piling on their businesses, but were still determined to do what they could to contribute to their local communities.

Bottom line: More than an outright call for avoiding “white” companies, the #BlackXmas call is more focused on learning about Black-owned businesses in communities within the Los Angeles region and beyond. And in the end, the celebration is about giving back to the community. Considering Americans’ penchant to donating to good causes, the message behind Black Xmas is about as red-blooded American as it can get.

Prominently displayed among the resources on the Black Xmas website are cards that users can download and then pass on to loved ones urging them to contribute money to a cause instead of buying a gift. Also available are cards that can inform friends and family that instead of a gift, a donation was made in their honor instead.

“This is about building strong Black communities so that we can have a degree of autonomy and self-determination,” said Melina Abdulla, one of the founders of Black Xmas, during a recent interview. “When we think also about what Black-owned businesses do for the Black community, they — more than any other type of business — also create livable-wage jobs for other Black people.”

Image credits via Black Xmas website

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye