by April R. Silver
Regarding the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown Jr.: The pain is deep, the outrage is justified. The sense of hopelessness is real. The profound need to want to do something – damn near anything – is calling people into action.
I support all positive action – be it direct action like protests, marches and civil disobedience and/or indirect action via social media – as long as it:
- helps to further uncover what systemic racism is and how it shows up;
- works to bring police brutality to an end;
- calls for justice first, then healing.
Especially during this time, I will respect the glaring fact that people come to this movement with varying levels of information, context, background and willingness. I will not pass judgment on why, when and how people join the movement. All good work is needed work. Informed, organized work is the best.
Also, I will recognize the fact that some people – no matter how down you thought they were – are embarrassed by and angry at Black people. This is evident if you examine either the substance or the tone of their commentary as of late.
And as “a” thing to do, I support the call to #BoycottBlackFriday. I have never shopped on Black Friday and have been frustrated at its growth and weight over the years. No judgment. #IJS. But yes, sustained economic boycotts do make capitalists – and their allies and partners in government – take notice. It can make a difference. So I stand with the boycott of Black Friday.
And I’ll emphasize that it is “a” thing to do. It does fall short, however, of expressing what we actually stand for and who we stand with.
I’d like us to do some adding while we’re subtracting. I’d like to see us invest in good work on the ground, to invest in the social justice organizations that labor to defend us.
Let’s re-direct the money that would have been spent on gadgets and games (no judgment) and send it to institutions who, around this time every year, engage in “honorable begging” fund-raising campaigns.
Every year during this time, under-resourced non-profits and community-based organizations try to get our attention, hoping to get an extra dollar or two, trying to exploit the season of good will. Let’s make it easier for those who work on our behalf. #BoycottBlackFriday would be more valuable and have an enduring impact if we re-invest those dollars strategically in our own communities.
So in the spirit of ADDING to the important work that is being done by social justice advocates and activists, community organizers, lawyers, researchers, journalists, media makers and of course the artists, let’s #BoycottBlackFriday AND “invest in justice.” Meaning, “invest in just us.” Hashtag #InvestInJustUs.
The call to action here is to, while outraged, spend some time and energy focusing on what we have, who stands for us, who needs our help. So YES to #BoycottBlackFriday and yes to #InvestInJustUs. Let’s acknowledge and support our justice-seeking institutions who labor to defend us 365 days a year.
In my local community of Brooklyn, the Center for Law and Social Justice is one such non-profit organization. On a national and local level, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are two other orgs that have a crisp analysis of the issues and are on the ground. I will not only continue to post about those orgs but I will increase the spotlight.
Clearly, we’re all we’ve got, family. To the same degree that our outrage has been piqued is the same degree that membership, volunteering and/or donations must increase too.
We can indeed create a better world. It is possible! If we don’t believe that, then why bother? But BECAUSE we believe that a better, more safe, more fair world is possible, then we have to do more than subtract from this world. We must grow and nurture it.
We must act like we know. Where we plant our seeds matter, where and how we spend our time matters, where we re-route our money matters. A call for justice is meaningless if we aren’t willing to be pro-active for justice.
Follow April R. Silver on Twitter at @aprilRsilver.