It has been well over 100 days since Mike Brown, 18, lay in the street near where he lived shot dead for over four hours. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed Black teen to death.
It has been well over 100 days that Black youth have been in the streets unafraid, unwavering and unwilling to just go away and be silent or quiet.
Their boldness and their courage has race and inequality and police and community relations on the lips and the agenda of the president, his Justice Dept., business leaders, foundations and political figures.
Their boldness and courage has exposed the ugly side of America and the world is looking and responding, calling America to account and to shame.
If she had any moral authority in the world, which is an if the size of the Empire State Building or maybe even Mt. Everest, America has been exposed for the fraud that she is.
It is Black youth and their fearlessness that shook Black Friday this year, prompting the staid and “respectable” Wall St. Journal to declare: “Retail spending over the Thanksgiving weekend fell 11 %, according to the main industry trade group, a sign that that annual four-day shopping bonanza may be losing some of its punch.”
Though this may be the second year showing an annual decline, it was the We-Shut-This-Down protests of Black Friday shopping that helped knock spending out. The protests were part of demands for justice in the killing of Mike Brown, a demand that Black life be respected and demand that police stop killing Black people.
Across the country, malls and stores were besieged by young people and others intent of making the slogan “No justice, no profit!” a reality. It looks like their efforts paid off. The money changers and holiday season bloodsuckers must feel like Santa left a premature lump of coal in their collective stockings.
“Total spending for Thursday through Sunday sank 11% from a year earlier to $50.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, which surveyed 4,600 consumers on Friday and Saturday.
“Shoppers spent average of $380.95, down 6.4% from a year earlier,” the Journal reported. “The retail trade group said the number of people who went shopping over the four-day weekend declined 5.2% from last year to 134 million.
“We decided if Mike can’t shop nobody can shop. If Mike’s parents can’t come buy his Christmas presents, other peoples’ families can’t come buy their Christmas presents,” said Alexis Templeton, 20, co-founder of Millennial Activists United of the demonstrations. The group was started by three young Black women who were on the frontlines in the early days of protests. They have not stopped, but they have grown stronger, smarter, more disciplined and intensely focused.
“We came to shutdown the mall and that’s what we did,” Alexis said. People were made uncomfortable and made to realize it’s not about materialism and property, Alexis continued. “It’s about Black lives that matter.”
When demonstrators hit the malls, many White customers exited immediately. Police officers, not sure of who was friend or foe, shut down streets and mall access at times as if trying to control this unmanageable genie that somehow escaped the bottle. It’s too late to put the genie back in.
In a country consumed with what you have and eager to assign value based on what you possess, these young people are rejecting a cherished American value: Greed and excess.
The holiday season remains a commercialized mess where no expense and hardly any decorum is observed as corporations work to entice customers into spending what they have as often as possible. The scheme to extract the almighty dollar from the pockets of people and to log credit card swipes fraught with the danger of identity theft is shameless and unrelenting.
And to a poor and suffering people, wealth is a very, very attractive thing and to have things that denote wealth is highly desired and highly prized. The latest phone, television, car, shoes, sneakers, camera, ring, watch and other bling bling is a must have. These things must be obtained at almost any cost, making the holiday season one of the most dangerous times of the year as desperation grows and criminals stalk potential victims aching for a chance to strike.
Happy Holidays in America.
In the history of the children of Israel, the God of the children of Israel plagued Pharaoh with torment and loss of wealth. As we are the modern children of Israel, the modern Pharaoh called America is suffering the same fate.
Some of the children of Israel are not fascinated by Pharaoh’s wealth and they cry out in modern language: “If we can’t get it, shut it down! If we can’t have none, shut it down! If Mike can’t get it, shut it down!”
And the commodity that is most desired won’t be found in pretty wrapping paper, an impressive gift box or a gleaming showcase. They want justice and nothing else will satisfy that desire.
There were reports of a stock market decline alongside the less spending and less glee enjoyed by the bloodsuckers of the poor who live well and dine deliciously on the backs of the have-nots.
But there is a new generation on the scene today, they don’t want Pharaoh nor his trinkets. They want freedom, justice and equality and the dignity that comes with charting one’s own course.
These children are more valuable than silver or gold and we should value them above all else. They are ours. Let us strive to be worthy of them.