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Blackout Day highlights Black-owned businesses in the St. Louis area

Open for business, a Black-owned coffee shop in Maplewood is serving fresh brew and a powerful message

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — It's a protest meant to make change by hitting your pockets.

Blackout Day is trending nationwide as activists continue to fight against racial injustice by supporting black-owned businesses.

"Getting the support is so important it empowers us to say you know what we actually belong here."

Open for business, a Black-owned coffee shop in Maplewood is serving fresh brew and a powerful message.

"I was just like you know what this is my way, I'm going to tell everybody i'm Black-owned," said Olivia Ridgel owner of C. Oliver Coffee Shop along Hazel Avenue in Maplewood.

Ridgel joins countless others making it clear, that her business supports Black lives.

"For so long Black people, people of color would go into places, and not get the support that they need even just going in the business … no customer service we're treated differently, even when I opened this place and I was at the cash register I would be treated differently in my own shop because people didn't know I was the owner," said Ridgel.

To promote racial equality nationwide activists named Tuesday 'Blackout day.'

The protest promotes change by creating a day where people only dive in their pockets to support black owned businesses, like C. Oliver Coffee Shop.

"Definitely with the whole buy Black idea is just an extra reason to come. and its been really great," said a customer.

But the day is not without criticism. Some saying it promotes division among small businesses.

"Take a step back, reevaluate what you say and I think that you should just listen to us for the most part and hear our voices and then you'll hear and understand our struggle," said another customer.

Ridgel said it's time for businesses to take a stand.

"It's time for us to be confident, it's time for us to just be like you know what we are so proud to be black owned and its time for you to accept me."

RELATED: Black-owned businesses you can support in the St. Louis area

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