Organizers for Blackout for Human Rights, a network of concerned artists, activists, filmmakers, musicians and citizens committed to addressing human rights abuses in the United States, are encouraging supporters to boycott the holiday shopping season, beginning with a call to #BlackoutBlackFriday.
"For us, it's less about being against Black Friday and more about using Black Friday as a platform and opportunity to have our voices heard and to spark change," Michael Latt, marketing director for Blackout for Human Rights, told ATTN:.
The blackout is a response to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. as well as countless other police shootings that prove, “people of color, and Black people in particular are still unjustly targeted by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.”
Latt said he hopes supporters will put down their wallets and “stand with the citizens of Ferguson, Standing Rock, Baltimore, Chicago, D.C., New York City, Oakland, Flint and all those who have suffered atrocious race-based and class-based acts of hate resulting from police violence, racist public policies and other oppressive forces."
"Major chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target depend on our shopping to keep them afloat, especially during the holiday season,” Latt said. But the lives of our brothers and sisters are worth more than the dollars we can save on holiday gifts.”
Latt said the long term goal is to force major retail corporations to become “allies in this fight for social justice.”
"Our lives are joined by the money we spend as consumers. Today, more than ever, the levers of power—civic, corporate, industrial, capital—are tied to one another and to our economy,” Latt said, according to ATTN:.
Blackout for Human Rights has four main demands: national mandatory body cameras for all law enforcement officers, mandatory community engagement training for all police officers, federal charges for Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, and end the use of military grade combat equipment by local law enforcement.
Organizers say the message to retail corporations is simple: “if you care about our dollars, you should care about our lives, too.”