With a goal to start a movement in which all Americans – regardless of race – would unite to support quality black businesses, Maggie and John Anderson launched a public campaign referred to as The Empowerment Experiment. In leading by example, the Anderson’s pledged to patronize black-owned businesses for the year 2009. Out of this experience, Maggie collaborated with Chicago Tribune’s Ted Gregory to give birth to the book, Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy.
Our Black Year is not a story of the year-in-the-life in Pleasantville. While she raves about the stellar ones, Maggie brutally honest about the subpar services and experiences of the campaign. Still, her voice advocating for support of black-owned businesses is as loud as it was before she launched the campaign. Why? As stated in the white paper for The Empowerment Experiment, Maggie stands on evidence that “[this support will] lay the foundation for sustainable and differentiated Black businesses and ultimately lead to Black economic empowerment.”
During a book release party and panel discussion on February 20th at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Maggie’s strong stand for black economic empowerment was evident in the no-holds-barred discussion about her experience, the plight of the community and her steadfast commitment to raising attention to the issue of black economics. With statistics to back it up, Maggie explains that spending more money in black communities promotes economic development, creates jobs, supports schools, reduces poverty and significantly raises communal pride.
Our Black Year brings a community problem to national attention. And even more, the book takes the topic beyond a conversation among JUST US to a call to action for ALL OF US to extend support to more black-owned businesses. This support will make an empowering difference.