Friday, May 02, 2008

a national boycott

i got this email a few days ago. it seriously piqued my interest. after i sent it to all the black folk i know, i thought about it for a long time.

when it comes to buying power (also referred to as disposable income), we have a lot more financial muscle than we think. current stats say $892 billion, projected at more than $1.1 trillion by 2012. our total income after taxes increased from $318 billion in 1990 to $688 billion in 2002. in 18 years, we have increased our buying power by 189% -- as opposed to 128% for the buying power of white people. if you combine this with the buying power of hispanics (frankly, i thought they were black like me -- but that's another conversation), we are formidable.

here's the kicker: affluent (with an average income of $122K) african-americans make up only 17% of all black households but account for 45% of the buying power. the marketing pundits are stymied by us -- they are scrambling to figure out how to sell us things. in the meantime, we are making our great migration back to the south, we refuse to shop online for the most part, we shop at beauty supply stores 3x more than anyone else, and we buy/collect black art.

i wonder how many african-americans know these stats?

when i got this email notice, i couldn't stop thinking about the montgomery bus boycott -- 42,000 black folk simply refusing to take the bus. this happened four days after rosa parks refused to give up her seat on the front of a bus and was summarily arrested. the entire black community convened in their churches, strategized, decided on a plan of action, spread the word amongst themselves and that was it. they walked some pretty vicious hostile streets. they carpooled. they rode bicycles. they took taxis. whatever it took to stay off of that bus, that's what they did. it took more than a year -- 381 days! -- but it broke the system, not just in montgomery but nationwide.

think of it: each one of those 42,000 participants changed national policy, changed the law, changed the world -- by refusing a bus ride. they are all civil rights heroes. what a beautiful legacy to give to your children.

if my not spending any money for a week can in some small way contribute to encouraging some sort of conversation on a national level about police brutality against black and hispanic people, then whatever sacrifice i make will be worth it. i can go a week and not spend money. i'll ride my bike everywhere. i'll pack a sack lunch. it's the folks out there that gas up every other day to commute to work or get around their cities that are going to struggle with this.

looks like i'll be shopping for groceries sooner rather than later.


There are approximately 23 days left to the NATIONAL BOYCOTT (May 19 - 23). As many of you may know, the NYPD detectives in the Sean Bell murder trial were acquitted on all charges. The judge in the case had made his decision based on the fact that the demeanor and background of Mr. Bell and his friends had warranted the detectives to shoot over 50 times. This judicial decision cannot go unanswered. Go back to the 80's with the death of Micheal Stewart and Eleanor Bumpers to name a few. Go back even further to a time when it was legal to lynch African Americans. For too long we have sat idlely by while we let the 'establishment' shoot our leaders (Malcolm/Martin/Medgar) and our young black/hispanic men (Stewart/Baez/Bell) and have done NOTHING about it.

Now is the time to move to action. We must make this stand because if we do not, they will continue to just kill our leaders and young men when it suits them knowing they will not be held to the same judicial consequences as the average citizens. We can no longer turn a blind eye, because it may happen to us. The only thing that the establishment understands is the almighty dollar.

So remember, do all necessary shopping prior to the MAY 19th (May 17 & 18). Buy no gas; fill up before. Do grocery shopping before. Carpool to work, if possible ride a bike or walk to work. Bring bagged lunch to work or leftovers. Spend not one penny that week. Make a donation of at least $5.00 to a Black/Hispanic organization. God Bless.


No comments: