Buying Black – The Empowerment Experiment

Posted by: Nika White on Monday, August 11, 2014
Recently I had the privilege of introducing the keynote speaker, Margarita (“Maggie”) Anderson, for the Black Expo kick off breakfast event.  Prior to this experience, I was not aware of Maggie Anderson, but having met her, my perspective has been broadened to a place I didn’t know was possible.  To say that her presentation was compelling is a tremendous understatement.  The standing ovation she received at the end was a direct result of how awe-inspiring her delivery and message was and the recognition of just how lasting of an impact her message would have on all those who were fortunate to be in the audience.  As I introduced her, I jokingly mentioned that the only problem with the event was that not every seat was filled.  Little did I know how true that statement would become at the end of Maggie’s delivery.  She autographed her book for me and I was too embarrassed to read her personalize message while standing in her presence.  I anxiously waited until I got in my car.  Here is what it said, “For my new best friend in Greenville, the beautiful, smart Nika…You may think that I inspire you.  But, know that you inspire me.  Love Maggie.”  So, let me tell you about my new friend Maggie. Maggie is the founder of the Empowerment Experiment and author of the critically acclaimed book, entitled, Our Black Year. Maggie’s book explores the reasons why Black businesses lag behind businesses of all other racial and ethnic groups in every measure of success.  Maggie was born to an immigrant family as first generation Cuban American.  Maggie and her family made history and dominated headlines as national media covered their yearlong stand living exclusively off Black businesses, professionals, and products for an entire year.  This first-ever real-life case study in self-help economics was called The Empowerment Experiment (EE).  Their experiment resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, which proved with the data from the Anderson’s journey how incremental support of Black businesses can rescue the Black community and improve the American economy as a whole.  Since the experiment, Maggie has become the face of a conscious consumerism movement uniting consumers and corporations of all kinds, and quality Black businesses that can rescue struggling communities and provide role models to Black youth.  Other aspects regarding Maggie’s journey that has left quite an impression with her are the opportunities she was afforded to learn and study under some of the most iconic leaders from corporate and political backgrounds.  She spoke humbly about how during law school in Chicago President Barack Obama was her law professor and mentor.  Before the empowerment experiment, Maggie was an aide to civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, the speechwriter for the Mayor of Atlanta, a corporate strategy executive at McDonald’s Corporation working under the CEO of McDonalds, and those relationships helped her find her calling.  Collectively these experiences left a strong impression with Maggie and she committed herself to an economic empowerment-message platform to inspire people to think differently about consumerism, increase their overall awareness of issues concerning economic inequalities and spark urgency for proactive support of black businesses. I hope you will get to know the work of my new friend Maggie, and help advocate for the important message of investing in minority communities. Learn more about CAPACITY, Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Follow CAPACITY on Twitter Like CAPACITY on Facebook Check out the CAPACITY YouTube Channel


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