"For us, it's less about being against Black Friday and more about using Black Friday as a platform and opportunity to have our voices heard and to spark change," Micheal Latt explains.
Every year protests usually take place in opposition to what can be argued as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday, ATTN states. Usually, protesters are advocating for a raise in the minimum wage or the fair treatment of workers in low wage jobs. However, one group is protesting the day after Thanksgiving for a very different reason.
— #BlackoutBlackFriday (@UnitedBlackout) November 22, 2016
#BlackoutBlackFriday is an event hosted by Blackout for Human Rights, “a collective of filmmakers, artists, activists and concerned citizens,” which fights for human rights, according to its site. The group has been encouraging activists to boycott Black Friday shopping since 2014 in an effort to raise awareness around class and race discrimination in the United States.
“For us, it’s less about being against Black Friday and more about using Black Friday as a platform and opportunity to have our voices heard and to spark change,” Michael Latt, a founding member and the marketing director for Blackout for Human Rights, told ATTN:. “Our lives are joined by the money we spend as consumers. Today, more than ever, the levers of power – civic, corporate, industrial, capital – are tied to one another and to our economy.”
The 26-year-old said instead of going out and looking for the best sales on Friday, citizens should speak out and “stand with the citizens of Ferguson, Standing Rock, Baltimore, Chicago, D.C., New York City, Oakland, Flint and all those who have suffered atrocious race-based and class-based acts of hate resulting from police violence, racist public policies and other oppressive forces.”
The organization also hosted an event in February called #JusticeForFlint to support Flint, Michigan, residents who suffered from the city’s water crisis after it was discovered that the water supply contained dangerous amounts of lead. This year’s Blackout Black Friday events will occur in Los Angeles, California, New York City, New York, and Oakland, California. The events will feature speakers, discussions and showings of important civil rights films like Ava DuVernay’s “13th.”
“Major chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target depend on our shopping to keep them afloat, especially during the holiday season but the lives of our brothers and sisters are worth more than the dollars we can save on holiday gifts,” Latt explained.
Black Friday is typically about going to retail stores and finding sales on holiday gifts, but these activists want to oppose that shopping tradition. Thousands of people are expected to participate in events and demonstrations nationwide, Latt said, and organizers hope to re-brand Black Friday as a day of activism, instead of consumerism. Organizations like Million Hoodies, Justice League NYC and Black Lives Matter have joined the Black Friday protests in previous years.
“One of the long term goals is to gain the attention of major retail corporations, and force them into a position of becoming allies in this fight for social justice,” Latt explained.
— #BlackoutBlackFriday (@UnitedBlackout) November 20, 2016
Protests and petitions are key tools in the revolutionary’s toolbox, but as the biggest shopping season of the year fast approaches, many are taking a page from American history and using their economic power to challenge a system that condones police violence and elects people who think forcing Muslims to join a registry is a reasonable policy, Colorlines report.
The three boycott campaigns below aim to unite likeminded people to put pressure on companies and people who don’t value the lives of people of color:
The Ryan Coogler-founded Blackout for Human Rights coalition wants all Americans to shop via small businesses and boycott major retailers, companies that violate human rights and businesses that profit from the pain of others.
Per a Thunderclap campaign created for the boycott: “An affront to any citizen’s human rights threatens the liberty of all. So, we participate in one of the most time honored American traditions: dissent. We demand an immediate end to the brutal treatment and inhumane killings of our loved ones; the lives of our friends, our parents and our children have value and should be treated with respect.”
The boycott includes free movie screenings in New York City, Los Angeles and Oakland.
Protests and petitions are key tools in the revolutionary’s toolbox, but as the biggest shopping season of the year fast approaches, many are taking a page from American history and using their economic power to challenge a system that condones police violence and elects people who think forcing Muslims to join a registry is a reasonable policy.
November 25 – January 2
Coordinated by the Nation of Islam-driven #JusticeOrElse movement, this campaign encourages Black Americans to spend their money exclusively at Black-owned businesses. A moving—and graphic—video below shows the arrests and deaths of Black people at the hands of police and vigilantes. It ends by reminding viewers that state-sanctioned violence prevents hundreds of Black people from celebrating Christmas every year and that an in-store and online economic boycott can amplify their voices.
— Justice or Else Mvmt (@JusticeOrElse) November 19, 2016
Named for the words President-elect Donald Trump used while describing his history of sexual assault, this movement encourages Americans to withhold their funds from companies that financially contribute to the bottomline of Trump and his family, as well as those that endorsed his run for office or raised money for his campaign.
It is imperative that Black people boycott the Black Friday sales and rather push the agenda to empower Black owned businesses. This is another opportunity for white owned businesses to exploit Black Americans to make profit. Moreover, it is a platform we must use to amplify our concerns and the various inhuman treatments we are subjected to in this country. #BlackoutBlackFriday.