Archive for Montgomery

How To Start A Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by peace4diane

My girlfriends and I have been talking a lot about what is happening in this country with regard to race. The other day, as we continued to debate the best way to resolve the conflict and stop the violence, we began to speculate a lot about a revolution. She mentioned that blacks should learn from the Montgomery bus boycott on how to effect change. Then it hit me, how to get it started: a nationwide show of solidarity by boycotting Wal-Mart or Target stores.

There has been a love/hate relationship between the American consumer and Wal-Mart forever. The fuse was lit when Target dropped the ball by using white models to sell clothes made famous in the movie remake, Annie. Annie stars a black child actor Quvenzhane’ Wallis but we see no evidence of this diversity in the initial Target advertisements. This, hot on the heels of price gouging, charging more for black Barbie than white Barbie a few weeks ago. Mix in the fact that consumers are experiencing a gift of lower gasoline prices which translate to money in our pockets and companies like Wal-Mart or Target as cha-ching.

In my opinion, the Target boycott is poetic: people, the corporate logo is after all a bullseye. Some smart protestor reading this blog is gonna pick up this ball and run with it for sure.

Protestors can send a loud message that We The People want no more black death at the hands of white police officers by staging an extended boycott of Target. For at least 21 days no black or Hispanic person would shop at Target for any reason. Non-Violent Takeover 101 requires that any time one holds another hostage, the captors present their list of demands to an entity with clout and money. Target meets that criteria.

According to its annual report of sales by product categories which included household essentials, food & pet supplies, apparel & accessories, hardlines, home furnishings & decor, Target Corporation raked in $71.3 billion in sales in 2013. This is respectable clout if ever there was clout. [See https://corporate.target.com/annual-reports/2013/financials/financial-highlights.]

Surely the bright young executives at Target will see their bottom line start to budge if we keep our money in our pocket for 21 consecutive days. They will go to Washington to demand action for us. They will file class action lawsuits regarding the violation of our civil rights. They will lead the lobby for black people. They must because evidently we lack the capacity to advocate or lobby for ourselves, or we would have done so by now.

Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook will spread the word of the boycott and Target’s response to it like wildfire. But the key to solidarity is #weareone. No hidden agendas and EVERYBODY must participate. Liken it to the year-long bus boycott in 1955-56 described here in Wikipedia that brought attention to racially based segregation on public transportation effecting black people in Montgomery.1

220px-Rosa_Parks_BusThe Supreme Court became involved and the rest is history.

In our discussion, we decided that a clear statement of demands be mapped out in advance. If this statement of demands has already been published, we have not seen or heard of it yet. With the advent of social media, crafting the language and spreading the demands of the manifesto should be a cinch. After all, the YouTube video of Blaze the talking Huskie saying no to bedtime has 14,231,279 views and counting.

Otherwise we fear that in 2015 the protests and protestors wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts are reduced to the equivalent of a flash mob sent to annoy commuters and create greater levels of gridlock. An economic response to the outrage at the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City sends a serious message and begins the change we seem to want to see. It gets us a seat at the table and the microphone in our hand. Otherwise the talk in totality becomes rhetoric, propaganda that gets easily ignored…that is until another black person is killed by a while police officer. That is the inevitable event that the universe is holding its breath in hope that this will somehow magically not happen.

But in my opinion, the revolution starts with the drafting of the manifesto. Here are our demands submitted by savvy Target lawyers to local, state and federal government officials and politicians who perpetuate institutionalized racism and social inequities. It is non-violent and as such will not make some live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword folks happy.

However, if the radical protestors take up my challenge and start the boycott, we would support it 100 percent.

Only thing, I really think Wal-Mart should feel the pressure too. IJS

1The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. civil rights movement, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955—when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person—to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.