The economic approach to fighting injustice

The economic approach to fighting injustice
July 14
10:30 2016

Community leaders call for economic boycott following police shootings 



While many people across the nation came together in solidarity following the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by holding rallies, many believe that it’s time that the black community take another approach to fight injustice.

Since the mid-1950s, blacks and whites have marched together holding signs, singing songs, and chanting, demanding equal and fair treatment. While much has improved since the days of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, blacks are still being killed by police officers at an alarming rate. In 2015, more than 100 unarmed black people were killed by police officers. According to, a site that collects information on all people killed by police in the United States, 37 percent of unarmed people killed by police were black, despite only being 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Many community leaders across the nation believe the road to change begins with an economic boycott. In Louisiana where Alton Sterling, 37, a neighborhood “CD man,” was shot outside a convenience store while being restrained by officers, the local NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership  Conference (SCLC) called for an embargo of all malls and WalMarts in Baton Rouge.

Similar boycotts have been established in Minneapolis, Minn. where Philando Castile, 32, was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop while his fiancee and daughter were in the car.

SCLC president Rev. Reginald Pitcher said they hope economic pressure will compel business owners to lean on political leaders to arrest the officers involved in the incidents.

A number of boycotts have been organized on social media sites as well. On Facebook, one titled Black Spending Matters has gained momentum, and on Twitter the hashtag, #OperationDisruptCashFlow, was started to bring attention to black spending power and urge shoppers to support minority-owned businesses.

A post on the Facebook event reads, “Since it appears #Blacklives don’t matter. How about our money?? For this period. As much as you are able, Don’t spend one cent, unless it is in a black owned establishment.”

According to the post, the boycott was scheduled to begin on Sunday, July 10, and is expected to end on July 31.

Hip-hop artist and activist Killer Mike has outlined other strategies for civil resistance, such as banking with black-owned banks. During an interview with Hot 107, the Atlanta native and avid Bernie Sanders supporter said, “You can go to your bank tomorrow and say, until you as a corporation start to speak on our behalf, I want all my money.

“Take your money out of this dog’s hand. Out of their paws. Take your money.”

At the local level, 102 Jamz’ on-air personality Brian “B-Daht” McLaughlin has started a campaign to get 100 people to open an account at Merchant and Farmers Bank, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

During a rally held on Saturday, July 9, Cassandra Davis said economic boycott may be the only way to really make an impact and bring about change.

“I think we are at a point where we have no other option,” said Davis. “Having rallies and marches are good, but at some point we have to do something different. We can’t keep doing the same things and expect someone to take notice.”

Salem College Assistant Professor of Sociological and Criminal Studies Kimya Dennis noted, although marching is a great tool to network and brainstorm ideas, there is no doubt that something more has to be done.

“We have to fight behind closed doors as well,” she said. “This goes beyond an altercation and this is not about one individual. This is about institutional power.”

Dennis noted the movement needs is consistency. “We need people who are willing to continue this fight even when it isn’t all over the news or on the front page of the paper.

“More than anything, what the movement needs is consistency. You have to be willing to fight behind the scenes.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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