According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday sales were down 11 percent. With Black spending still high, many have resisted going to stores in response to police officer Darren Wilson not being indicted for the murder of Michael Brown.
Experts are blaming a still-recovering economy as well as shoppers going online to find great deals. However, one of the nation’s key spending markets were encouraged to hold their dollars. Through social media campaigns, Internet memes, mass emails and postings, many groups urged Blacks to not spend during the four-day shopping weekend that started Thanksgiving Day.
The lack of indictment in Ferguson, Mo., in the killing of Michael Brown ignited the “No Justice, No Profit” movement started by the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition. With Black spending in America projected to reach the trillion dollar mark next year, organizers want to hit the nation in the pocket, with many suggesting a complete resistance to spending this holiday season. Black consumers remain at the forefront of social trends and media consumption, according to a Nielsen report.
Speaking on St. Louis public radio, Dacia Polk, one of the organizers, said that a boycott would wake the nation up to just how much Black spending matters to the economy.
“There will be no business as usual while those who are supposed to protect and serve us,” she said during the interview. “Until this nation begins to place value on Black lives, there will be no value placed on this business because Black lives matter.”
Reports indicate that in Ferguson, protesters populated shopping malls, peacefully making their way through stores. Shoppers reportedly left the mall, leaving many stores with fewer sales. One notable demonstration took place at Sears, where protesters walked and chanted, “Shut it down.” Likewise, images on Vine and Instagram showed demonstrators staging a “die-in” at a mall in St. Louis.
“We decided if Mike can’t shop, nobody can shop. If Mike’s parents can’t come buy his Christmas presents, other peoples’ families can’t come buy their Christmas presents,” said Alexis Templeton, 20, co-founder of Millennial Activists, in one report.
In New York, seven people were reportedly arrested after a Black Friday action outside Macy’s flagship store. Seven others were arrested for trying to disrupt the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Several groups, including Million Hoodies, Rockaway Youth Task Force and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, organized “Blackout Black Friday.” Hundreds of protesters met at Herald Square on Black Friday, holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”