The Washington D.C. branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced a campaign to make Blacks aware of their spending power and how it impacts the nation.

The “Strengthen the Black Dollar Campaign,” according to Akosua Ali, president of the D.C. branch of the NAACP, seeks to educate,encourage, and empower Black consumers and Black businesses about their collective $1.2 trillion dollars in spending power, which is rivaled only by continued and exaggerated rates of unemployment, levels of debt, and unnecessary spending.

The State of the African American Consumer Report documented an increase in the amount of Blacks earning degrees and spending excessively on electronics, utilities, groceries, and footwear, with spending on health care and pensions particularly low.

The year-long campaign is also designed to enhance the visibility of Black-owned businesses in D.C. and raise awareness within the Black community regarding the importance of buying Black – with the hopes of increasing support that Black businesses receive from D.C. residents and other Black owners.

“Successful Black-owned businesses directly impact employment, jobs, and resource allocations within our communities. Leveraged appropriately, Black buying power can demand legislative and systematic changes directly impacting the healthcare, education and criminal justice reform,” said Ali.

The NAACP plans three roundtable discussions with African-American-owned businesses, nonprofit service providers, and the small business community; the first of which focuses on promoting financial stability among low-income Blacks, is scheduled for July 1 and will be held at the NAACP Financial Freedom Center, 1816 12th St. N.W.

“Our community does not reinvest in ourselves at the same rates of other communities. In addition, we have low-income residents who need support to achieve financial stability, before they even think about ‘spending Black,’” said Marlysa Thomas, economic chair for the branch. “Our solution is increasing the visibility of Black businesses, equipping our community with the knowledge for how investing in our community will positively impact you on the individual level, and providing our low-income population the tools and resources to become financially sound.”