A historic partnership has been born between OneUnited Bank, the largest Black owned bank in the country, and #BlackLivesMatter to organize the $1.2 trillion in spending power of Black America and launch the “Amir” card during Black History Month.
Both OneUnited Bank and #BlackLivesMatter are strong advocates for the empowerment of Black people, and have taken special care to communicate this focus through their messaging and their work.
#BlackLivesMatter was sparked by the acquittal of the killer of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin and founded in 2013 as a rallying cry to decree that while every human life matters, it is the constant devaluing of Black life that must come to the forefront of social issues. #BlackLivesMatter works to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people and to vision and build the kind of world in which we want to live. #BlackLivesMatter is committed to mobilizing Black people and allies to engage in social action that will create a just and peaceful society.
OneUnited Bank launched the #BankBlack Challenge after the summer of 2016 when America’s Black community galvanized in response to tragic events via social media, text messaging and word of mouth, answering the call to move their money from traditional banks to Black owned banks, like OneUnited Bank. The #BankBlack movement intensified when Rapper Killer Mike implored the Black community to deploy a portion of its financial resources to make a tangible difference during a town hall meeting on BET and MTV. Celebrities such as Solange, Jesse Williams, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, and others have joined the conversation urging Black people to move their money to Black owned banks.
Amir was originally painted by the acclaimed artist, Addonis Parker and was revealed during OneUnited’s #BankBlack event in Miami in June 2016. Nationwide response has been so positive the Bank knew it needed to put the power of “Amir” in the hands of Black America. The Amir Visa Debit Card symbolizes the continued fight for justice and the power of the Black community’s dollars. Yes…#BlackMoneyMatters #BlackLivesMatter.
“We are honored to announce this partnership with #BlackLivesMatter during Black History Month to focus on our future,” said OneUnited Bank President & Chief Operating Officer, Teri Williams. 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 provide important tools to garner our spending power and channel it back into our community to #BuyBlack and make America great…for us.”
Everyone who receives an Amir Visa debit card will receive communication on how to use their card to donate to #BlackLivesMatter!
“Black economic power is a critical piece of the Black freedom struggle. 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,” said Dr. Melina Abdullah, organizer with Black Lives Matter and one of its original members. “This partnership is an important step towards building #BlackFutures and harnessing our collective economic power,” added Funmilola Fagbamila, also an original member of Black Lives Matter.
During Black History Month, iconic leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are lauded for their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. During Dr. King’s last speech before the morning of his death, he preached for the boycotting of businesses that had racist and discriminatory practices, and instead moving dollars to Black businesses. This partnership between OneUnited Bank and #BlackLivesMatter will strengthen the call to action for social justice by also focusing on economic empowerment.
OneUnited Bank is the premier bank for urban communities, the largest Black-owned bank, the first Black internet bank and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Its mission is to provide affordable financial services to support economic development in urban communities and maintain superior financial performance to maximize shareholder value. OneUnited is an FDIC insured bank and an equal housing lender.