A historic partnership between OneUnited Bank, the largest black-owned bank in the country, and the Black Lives Matter movement aims to utilize the $1.2 trillion in spending power of black America by launching the Amir card during Black History Month.
They announced Wednesday, Feb. 8, that the organizations are strong advocates for the empowerment of black people and have taken special care to communicate this focus through their messaging and work.
“We are honored to announce this partnership with Black Lives Matter during Black History Month to focus on our future,” said Terri Williams, president and chief operating officer of OneUnited Bank. “We can empower our community by organizing our spending power to support social and economic justice. The #BankBlack movement and the Amir Visa Debit Card provides important tools to garner our spending power and channel it back into our community to buy black and make America great … for us.”
OneUnited Bank launched the #BankBlack challenge at the end of last summer, putting out a call for black people to move their money from traditional banks to black-owned banks, spurred by a slew of unarmed African-Americans killed by police officers.
The movement gained momentum when rapper Killer Mike urged the black community to give a portion of its financial resources to make a tangible difference during a town hall meeting aired on BET.
Other celebrities such as Solange, Jesse Williams, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and Queen Latifah have also joined the conversation, according to the bank.
The Amir Visa Debit Card debuted in June at a Bank Black event in Miami featuring an original painting by acclaimed artist Addonis Parker.
“The Amir Visa Debit Card symbolizes the continued fight for justice and the power of the black community’s dollars,” Williams said.
OneUnited Bank said everyone who receives an Amir Visa Debit Card will also receive correspondence on how to use the card to donate to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Black economic power is a critical piece of the Black freedom struggle,” said Melina Abdullah, an organizer for Black Lives Matter. “Our partnership with OneUnited Bank during Black History Month honors the legacy of freedom fighters who walked before us, like Ida B. Wells, the architects of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and others who encouraged us to utilize our dollars intentionally as a means of making ourselves, our families and our communities strong.”
Funmilola Fagbamila of Black Lives Matter agreed, calling the partnership “an important step towards building black futures and harnessing our collective economic power.”