*As the world knows, on Monday, a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. That decision set off protests that included looting, the burning down of business, torching police cars and scores of arrests.
The ruling also sparked a national conversation about race and justice with the hashtags #BoycottBlackFriday and #BlackoutBlackFriday spreading on Twitter and a Facebook page. The overall movement is being referred to as the BLACKOUT For Human Rights (BLACKOUT).
The message on the Facebook page is to Boycott Black Friday “to galvanize economically and influence change in the politics of American Justice pertaining to Law Enforcement vs Citizens.”
“The only tool to fight against this is the economic side,” Carlos Howard of the Hampton Roads Leadership Council in Norfolk, VA told USA Today.
The idea, says Howard, is to get African Americans to skip shopping on Friday and show the economic power of the black community. He uses as an example, the civil rights movement under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which championed boycotting as a way to end segregation on buses in the South and creating jobs and economic opportunities for blacks.
Black Economic Facts: According to Nielsen data, African Americans have a current buying power of $1 trillion and it is forecast to reach $1.3 trillion by 2017. Black people make an average of 156 shopping trips each year compared with 146 for the total market.
Meanwhile, the BLACKOUT movement has gotten the attention of black Hollywood. In particular, “Selma” director Ava DuVernay is among the Hollywood figures joining in the boycott action.
“Ferguson is a mirror of the past,” DuVernay wrote in an email to TheWrap. “And Selma is a mirror of now. We are in a sad, distorted continuum. It’s time to really look in that mirror.”
DuVernay is known for her activism on behalf of African-American filmmakers. She is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a distribution collaborative. As a Black Friday Shopping alternative, FREE to the public, she’s screening three films in Los Angeles at the Downtown Independent theater (251S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). The films are Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station,” her own “Middle of Nowhere” and will present the debut “25 to Life” (2014 American Black Film Festival Grand Jury Winner).
In addition to the film screenings, there will be community conversations in support of Ferguson protests moderated by DuVernay.
Friday, November 28th
3:00 PM FRUITVALE STATION
5:00 PM MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
7:00 PM 25 TO LIFE
For more info, visit TheWrap.