Black Lives Matter agitators plan to disrupt Black Friday shopping in at least two cities this year in an attempt to draw attention to what they call unjustified police shootings. Organizers in Chicago and Seattle are planning demonstrations that they hope will attract thousands of protesters.
In Seattle, as many as 2,700 people may attend a Black Lives Matter protest downtown on Black Friday, according to a Facebook page set up by the “Black Freedom Front of Seattle.”
Via Seattle Patch:
The event, “BlackLivesFriday 3.0 The Revolution Begins,” implores would-be Black Friday shoppers to ditch the stores and join the group in remembering people killed by police in recent years. The page indicates that some 7,000 are interested in attending the protest, and another 8,000 have been invited.
“WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND BE UNITED AS ONE AGAINST injustice, racism, oppression, police brutality and get JUSTICE FOR Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Tony Robison, Sandra Bland and hundreds of other unarmed people of color KILLED BY POLICE,” the Facebook event page states.
Black Lives Matter protests have occurred in downtown Seattle on Black Friday since 2014. On Nov. 25 that year, three days before Black Friday, a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson in the police-action shooting death of Michael Brown.
Next page: What they’re planning in Chicago:
In Chicago, for the second year in a row, protesters are expected to disrupt shopping along North Michigan Avenue (aka the “Magnificent Mile”) as shoppers hunt for holiday sales.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, last year’s protest “forced many businesses to close earlier on the busiest shopping day of the year.”
The effort, planned by a diffuse network that includes Black Lives Matter, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and area churches, seeks to draw attention to a wide range of issues, including police shootings, racism and economic inequalities that keep Chicago’s South and West sides mired in poverty and violence.
The organizers say they hope this year’s turnout will be larger than last year’s, when hundreds of people temporarily obstructed access to retailers along Chicago’s most famous shopping strip and cost some stores a reported 50 percent of their sales on Black Friday.
“We’re expecting a bigger turnout this year, though this is not an exact science,” one of the self-identified organizers, Frank Chapman, a field organizer with the Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, told Crain’s. “The reason we’re looking for a bigger turnout is that Trump is the president-elect and, boy, are people pissed.”
A local Black Lives Matter leader said one of the goals is to “redirect” people to patronize businesses owned by “people of color.”
“One of the cornerstones about why we’re boycotting on Black Friday is to attempt to redirect people to businesses owned by people of color and women, and explain why it’s important to patronize these businesses,” said Kimberly Veal, a leader of Black Lives Matter.
It’s an interesting strategy, but it seems highly unlikely that shoppers will be open to the activists’ recommendations after being harassed and bullied by them.
Last year’s boycott brought hundreds of protesters to Michigan Avenue, blocking entrances to stores including Apple, Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue, Disney and Brooks Brothers.
“We don’t have any information yet,” said John Chikow, CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association. “We’re waiting for a briefing from Chicago police” within the next 24 hours.
Chi-town’s police blog, Second City Cop, had a suggestion for CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson: “Hey Special Ed? How about we keep the streets and entrance/exits clear this time so people can engage in lawful commerce?”