They say a ham sandwich can be indicted, so why is it then that a police officer who shoots an unarmed Black teenager can get off without even having to go to trial? That is the question they are asking in Ferguson, Mo. That is the question they are asking in New York. That is the question they are asking all across this country and the world. HOW? WHY? WHAT?
The disbelief is immense. The anger is boiling over and people of color have been, once again left out of justice and again it is Just Us. Thousands are marching, protesting, screaming, crying, cringing and trying to understand how it can be that Black life is worth so little in America.
The good old boys network was hard at work in Ferguson. When you listened to the prosecutor talk about the Michael Brown murder you would think that he was Police Officer Darren Wilson’s defense attorney and not the prosecutor who was supposed to try to get an indictment. Instead of putting Wilson on trial he made Brown out to look like the suspect and Wilson the victim. And the grand jury bought it unanimously, we were told–lock, stock and barrel.
What we are seeing once again is that police departments and prosecutors’ offices around the country—all of whom are obviously in cahoots–really don’t care about communities of color or their inhabitants. Black life does not matter to them and as we continue to try to tell them and show them otherwise, they continue to kill our young men. We have tried to protest. We have tried to legislate. We have tried all that we know to stem the tide of murder by those who feel our lives are worthless. So what is next? How can we shift the thinking? How can we make sure we matter?
Last night as the non-indictment came down the twitter-verse exploded with anger, rage, sadness, and frustration. But some of the ideas that were bantered about made sense. Good economic sense. And that was a Black Friday Boycott. In 1935 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. spearheaded a boycott that said “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” In 1955 it was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Both of these boycotts opened doors and changed the way America operated. No longer were our dollars and are persons taken for granted. We showed that we could make an impact on a city, on an economy. We were organized then. And we can organize now.
We should not shop on Black Friday. We should give a gift to ourselves and that is to withhold money from those who don’t respect us. African Americans have a national buying power of over $1.1 trillion per year. Black Friday is a big dollar-spending day. And if Blacks refuse to shop that day the economic reverberation will be felt nationwide. If local governments won’t listen to our desperate cries for change, then it is time we hit them where it counts, their wallet. This is what made Dr. King and is civil rights soldiers so eminently successful.
Our dollars can make or break a holiday season. If we really want change we need to make our dollars work for us. You will take our money and you will take our lives; how about you don’t get either?
Close your wallet to disrespect. Hold your money for leverage. Let them know we matter. We have the power and it’s time to cash in on it.