Activists in Missouri have been joined by Black activists and community leaders in Atlanta and other cities in urging Black people to boycott white-owned businesses on Black Friday, the entire Thanksgiving weekend and also Cyber Monday to show their disgust with the disregard for Black lives exhibited by the white power structure in St. Louis.
The activists are calling the movement “No Justice, No Profit,” organized by the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition and religious leaders.
With so many African-Americans grappling with anger but also a sense of helplessness after the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, the boycott gives people a proactive way to demonstrate their rage.
Coalition member Dacia Polk told St. Louis Public Radio that she hopes the boycott shows the economic might of the Black community, which has been estimated at a more than a trillion dollars.
“There will be no business as usual while those who are supposed to protect and serve us,” she said. “Until this nation begins to place value on black lives, there will be no value placed on this business because black lives matter.”
Instead of hitting the usual spots during the heavy shopping weekend, coalition leaders are urging African-Americans to spend their money exclusively with Black-owned businesses.
“They don’t care about our pain so in that spirit we are asking businesses to put political pressure on the political leadership to do the right thing,” Zaki Baruti of the coalition told the St. Louis Public Radio. The coalition members will also be active during the weekend, walking through area malls in silent protest and prayer.
They are being joined in their efforts by leaders in Atlanta, who gathered near The King Center on Tuesday to announce the boycott.
“We know that Black Friday can be the margin of difference of profit for many of these corporations,” the Rev. Timothy McDonald said at the Atlanta gathering, according to AJC.com. “We do not want them to profit on the back of Michael Brown, and all of the Michael Browns who came before him, and all of the other Michael Browns who will come after him.”
McDonald, founder of the African-American Leadership Council, urged churches, civil rights organizations, youth organizations, senior citizen organizations, fraternities and sororities across the country to join them in the boycott.
“If you have a conscience in America, and if you’re tired of just Americans being shot down in the street, if you’re tired of this militarization that is occurring among our police force, then you need to spend no money this coming Friday, and don’t go on the internet on Cyber Monday,” he said. “Let’s send a message loud and clear that we are tired of this violence, we are tired of the blood of our children running in our streets.”