I have felt worthless and invisible. I have wallowed in barrels of self-pity and almost drowned in self-doubt and hatred. I have considered suicide because I couldn't stand the sight of anything vibrant. The colors were too bright. I feared they'd shine light...
Why we must boycott Black Friday:
1. The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 381 days. It started with one.
2. It did NOT include all black people. It worked anyway.
3. It did NOT include only black people. It worked anyway.
4. The sacrifice of avoiding the only means of transportation many had, of traveling several miles to segregated areas to work on foot, of taking the risk of actually losing your job or your life because of your revolutionary stance was far greater than not buying some stuff.
5. The economic impact was tremendous even though it was only concentrated on one main area: transportation.
6. Rosa Parks was not the first or last black person to refuse to comply with the bigoted law to give up her seat to a white person on the bus. She was not perfect. She was still the face of the movement and her name is echoed decades later when it’s referenced. She became a symbol, not of perfection, but of the necessity for action. Sean, Amadou, Trayvon, Jordan, Renisha, Ezell, Jonathan, Rekia, Aiyana, Tamir….Mike Brown. Pick one. Pick them all. We’ve got several. No need to add more to the list.
7. Those who cannot afford to shop for luxury items or things other than necessities when items are not on sale, need something other than the flat screen that was marked down just for today. They need those of us who are more financially literate to educate and empower them. Teach a man to fish and all that.
8. Sacrifice is not easy. It is a necessity. New TVs, luxury handbags, and items for which we pay exorbitant amounts of money so that we can advertise for some European designer are not.
9. Necessities are food, clothing (not necessarily designer label and certainly not in excess), shelter, and FREEDOM. Most of us have the former three. None of us have the latter.
10. There is no political impact without economic power.
11. There is no desire for morality without economic power.
12. There is no freedom without economic power.
13. There is no generational prosperity without economic power.
14. There is no catalyst for change without economic power.
15. We have no economic power.
We’re in a very powerful position right now. We’ve already lost a great deal. We have many casualties in this war, and make no mistake, black people in America are at war with the systemic oppression that runs the country. But, we are not defeated and we are hungry for real, tangible change. Now is the time to implement strategy. It starts with one day. We must take one day away from pouring our income into the pockets of those who do not value black lives. This one day will restore the hope that it’s possible to galvanize for a common cause. It will ignite a spirit of activism in many and inspire others to join the effort. We need the one day to spark the emotive response necessary to begin the more laborious and lengthy commitment required to enact change.
After this one day, (and this is MOST important), let’s agree that beginning December 5, 2014, we will refrain from shopping for anything other than necessities (see number 9) unless it’s from a black-owned business. Let’s agree that those of us who’ve been sitting on an entrepreneurial dream will pursue it, and the rest of us will support it with our financial investment or sweat equity. Let’s agree that presents will become more meaningful and less materialistic; that building up the esteem and confidence of our children will supersede sales; that ensuring the safety of those we love will overcome our desire to spend. Let’s agree on what we want to yield from this effort. These are some things I desire. Please help me amend or add to the list.
1. We desire an marked increase in black-owned banks, and therefore business loans and businesses.
2. We desire a complete demilitarization of the police force, especially in neighborhoods that are predominantly black.
3. We require that every police officer live within the area they police. You must know us in order to value us.
4. We require cultural sensitivity training to be a continuous educational requirement for every police officer and politician. The training should be designed and administered by a panel consisting of a majority of people of color.
5. We require every police officer to wear a camera on their person and to be fined or fired in the event of tampering or neglecting to wear it.
6. We require any person that shoots and kills an unarmed person to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law regardless of stature, and that the jury reflects the victim as well as the defendant.
7. We require that any person that stalks, accosts, or pursues another person be identified as the aggressor and the one being pursued as the victim with the right to self-defense regardless of professional position of either party.
8. We require that every officer of the law be trained in shooting to wound rather than kill.
9. We require a repeal of Stand Your Ground and any law that resembles it.
10. We require every company that desires our financial support to publicly support our initiatives.