The nationwide Buy Freedom campaign, which asks blacks to support black businesses, arrived in Los Angeles last week.
The campaign was initiated in New York a month ago by television personality Tony Brown, who told a Los Angeles audience Tuesday that for every dollar blacks earn, only 6.6% is spent in the black community. "The trade imbalance must be reduced," he said.
Paul H. Brock, the campaign's regional director, said organizers hope that increased spending in the black community will lead to more jobs for blacks. Brock said there are 3,500 black-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area, including parts of Orange County.
Brock said black-owned businesses are asked to contribute $100 a year to buy a Freedom Seal, which can be displayed to alert consumers to a black-owned store participating in the program. Blacks don't support black businesses, he said, "because many times they don't know where the black businesses are." About 75 Los Angeles-area firms have purchased seals so far.
Brock said the program will run indefinitely. Organizers hope that blacks will spend 50% of their disposable income--estimated to reach $85 billion--at black businesses. "We hope that if they have the choice, blacks will choose to spend at least some of their income in black-owned stores," Brock said.