By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Featured Articles feat-article-tray-tab

New Initiative Encourages Chicagoans to “Shop Black” at Over 500 Local Black-Owned Businesses on the Day After Thanksgiving


Chicago, IL, November 17, 2020 – The Chicago Urban League joined with the City of Chicago and Chicago agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul to announce the launch of Black Shop Friday, a campaign encouraging Chicagoans to shop at Black-owned businesses on November 27. Widely known as “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving has historically been one of the biggest shopping days of the year. 

The Black Shop Friday initiative encourages Chicagoans and beyond to “spend green, shop Black” as they shop online and order food to go this holiday season. The campaign includes a new website,, that will be live on November 24th and will offer a guide to more than 500 Black-owned businesses in Chicago. The site will be updated on an ongoing basis and allows consumers to search by category and/or neighborhood to find the merchandise and gifts they are looking for throughout the holiday season. 

“We know that Black-owned businesses have less access to capital and other resources needed to be successful,” said President & CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. “Black Shop Friday is an important campaign to raise awareness of these challenges, while also providing a mechanism for people who want to be intentional about supporting black businesses.”

In its 2019 State of Black Chicago Report, the Chicago Urban League highlighted U.S. Census data that showed Black-owned businesses in Illinois have smaller sales receipts and fewer employees than other businesses — contributing to a racial wealth gap that impacts Chicago communities. The Black Shop Friday campaign aims to help narrow the wealth gap and strengthen neighborhoods across the city. 

“Supporting Chicago’s small businesses has been a priority of mine since even before taking office,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This inspiring partnership allows Chicagoans to discover the hundreds of Black-owned businesses in our city, driving the investment dollars that are needed now more than ever, and giving everyone a chance to make this new shopping holiday a huge success.” 

Momentum Coffee & Coworking is one of the many Black-owned businesses to be featured on the website and in the advertising announcing the program. Nikki Bravo, Co-Founder of Momentum Coffee & Coworking said, “I’m thankful for the increased support for my business, and other amazing Black-owned businesses in the Chicago area. We hope that Black Shop Friday and similar efforts will continue to highlight the businesses that truly help our communities thrive.”

Black Shop Friday was developed by OKRP who brought together the Chicago Urban League, the City of Chicago, its client Camelot and the Illinois Lottery, and communications firm Edelman to bring the idea to life. The launch is a part of the Mayor’s new initiative, By Chicago, For Chicago – a commitment to dedicate a percentage of all hours worked towards non-profit, social and cultural organizations and City agencies. 

In commenting on the creation of the concept, Aubrey Walker, Executive Creative Director at OKRP said, “Black Friday has been around for a long time, but what has been missing is the Blackness. As we began thinking about things we could do to address racial inequities, we were inspired by other programs that support the idea of shopping at Black-owned businesses. We saw a way to add to that concept by flipping Black Friday into Black Shop Friday and asking people to add one Black-owned business to their shopping cart and buy something really dope that supports the Black business community.”

OKRP partnered with renowned Chicago photographer Parrish Lewis to create assets for the campaign. The Black Shop Friday typeface MARTIN, was created by designer Tré Seals, whose non-violent font was inspired by the posters and signage used during the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968. The website was built by Chicago agency Geletka+, whose Founder, John Galetka, says he was proud to volunteer his firm’s efforts towards the initiative, working pro-bono with OKRP.

The Illinois Lottery is supporting the initiative by donating media in Chicago across multiple media channels including out of home, programmatic, online digital channels and social media platforms. “We are very proud to be part of this new campaign,” said Lottery Acting Director, Harold Mays, “As an avid supporter of the communities we serve by generating essential funding to support education and other good causes, supporting Black Shop Friday allows the Illinois Lottery to help bring attention to this important matter.”

The full list of shops participating in Black Shop Friday will be found at the website



Since 1916, the Chicago Urban League—through collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships—has helped people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. We are passionate advocates for economic and racial equity for Black Chicagoans. In FY2019, the League’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation served more than 1,050 Black business owners and entrepreneurs. Visit and follow us on Twitter at @ChiUrbanLeague and Facebook at @ChicagoUrbanLeague.



Chicago-based OKRP (, named by Advertising Age as a 2019 “A-List Standout Agency” and a 2018 “Agency to Watch,” is a new model independent advertising agency that delivers big brand creativity with start-up ingenuity. With its belief that success as a new model agency relies on the ability to be nimble and to bring together the best talent for its clients, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has practiced the “high art of selling” on behalf of clients such as Chili’s, Ace Hardware, Chervon, Illinois Lottery, Illinois Office of Tourism, Nike Chicago and Home Chef among others.



Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Our 6,000 people in more than 60 offices deliver communications strategies that give our clients the confidence to lead, act with certainty and earn the lasting trust of their stakeholders. We develop powerful ideas and tell magnetic stories that move at the speed of news, make an immediate impact, transform culture and spark movements.

Since our founding in 1952 by Dan Edelman, we have remained an independent, family-run company. We use our profits to strengthen our business, provide our employees with opportunities to grow, advance our industry, and serve as a responsible citizen of the world. Every day, we strive to live and work by a long-held set of core values: the pursuit of excellence, the freedom to be curious, the courage to do the right thing, and a commitment to improving society.



The Illinois Lottery exists to generate essential funding for education and good causes across the state of Illinois. Since 1985, it has contributed over $21 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for all draw-based Illinois Lottery games at Players must be at least 18 years old.

Camelot is the private manager of the Illinois Lottery. In partnership with the state, Camelot operates a modern lottery that truly benefits the people of Illinois.