Protesters across the nation are connecting the dots on multiple levels. Connections and similarities can be seen across state lines between the disparity in police harassment, brutality (and accountability for their actions), arrest rates and sentencing of non-whites in America. News programs constantly raise the point that there must be a reason that people in cities all across the country are protesting in solidarity and share equal amounts of passion about these issues. The dots between fights for justice in recent cases of deaths resulting from police brutality connect effortlessly.
When Latonya Goldsby, cousin of Tamir Rice, reached out to organizers in Ferguson they responded by committing to show up in force with at least 2 busloads in support of protests taking place in Cleveland. Organizers and protesters alike, recognize that we are ALL in the same fight.
It has taken a bit longer for the dots to connect between protesting in the streets and economic protest, both with disrupting commerce and redirecting dollars toward building in communities of color by supporting Black Owned Businesses (BOBs). However, the dots have finally connected. We saw massive protests on Black Friday that resulted in an 11% drop in sales. In similar fashion to disruptive protests that took place in malls on Black Friday, organizers in Minneapolis have organized a large protest on one of the most profitable shopping days of the year – the Saturday before Christmas.
The protest organized by #BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis will take place at the Mall of America and over 3,000 are expected to participate. A statement released from the mall warns that protesters will be banned from the mall for up to a year and may face arrest. At the time that the statement was released, just over 2,000 protesters had committed to join. Given the fact that another 1,000 have joined the event shows that the mall’s effort to deter participation has failed. An effort to encourage protesters to meet in a parking garage, in lieu of the mall rotunda, also failed.
If you read comments on social media in response to economic protest, many argue that it won’t work and has nothing to do with injustice. History tells a different story. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and lunch counter sit-ins had a profound impact on the Civil Rights Movement and Jim Crow.
From coast to coast, from the street to the pocket, from local policy to federal policy, all dots are being connected. When we are able to keep all of these elements on the front burner and use them together on a consistent basis, we will begin to see lasting change.