This is not a political blog. And I, though many things, am not a politician.
But some circumstances prove impossible to sit back and simply watch silently, helplessly, as things unravel.…and so, here’s one account of what it was like being in the nation’s capital as it was declared that a grand jury found no reason to indict Darren Wilson.
Upon walking into my building I caught wind that Fox News (yuck!) was arriving at Howard to film students while the verdict was announced (whether this happened or not, who knows? I immediately went in the opposite direction). I heard sirens blaring from the local eatery “club McDonald’s” as the blue and whites arrived to man their posts, all before a decision was released. My phone lit up with group chat notifications: “Meet here!” “Protest starting there”, “Black out your Instagram photo now”.
And I saw it all happening again.
The same uproar that ensued when our community heard of the initial shooting of Michael Brown, or even back when we were informed of Trayvon Martin‘s assassination. The exact same buzz began to emanate amongst my peers and the Black community at large and I found myself…growing angry. Why?
Yes, for the obvious reasons of course, an unarmed child was murdered. A young boy fitting the profile of what could very possibly be my own child one day, and the system that I have been beseeched to trust, failed me yet again.
It failed to serve the justice that many say we no longer need to fight for. But that wasn’t the only source. No, my anger rose from somewhere deeper.
The engulfing reality that no matter what, my community would probably never be heard, would never be vindicated, and this situation would add yet another riot to the never ending scroll of injustices without eradication. And I could do nothing. Marching wasn’t heard and rioting would give the media just what they want, more irresponsible and uncontrollable, three-fifth human beings to film and “fix”.
So after the verdict was announced and amidst all the legal mumbo jumbo that they padded the ill-timed and ill-legal statement with, I spoke to a friend. I expressed my frustration, my confusion, and my utter disbelief, but what she shared with me is what inspired this post.
What she said was that the heavily guarded “club McDonalds” near my residence that many of my fellow Howard-ites frequent, is the HIGHEST GROSSING McDonald’s in the USA.
Now, is that true? Though she’s a smart person and relatively credible source, I had to check the facts. And though I couldn’t find anything to affirm or discredit her statement(apparently Mickey D’s doesn’t like sharing that type of info), it got me to thinking.
I can make a difference. I can be heard.
Why? According to Nielsen, Black buying power in the US is over $1 trillion dollars. Our spending is 87% of total market spending. So though they may not hear your footsteps as you march in protest or your angry vernacular as you tweet, the power we do hold, the voice they can’t ignore, is that of thee almighty dollar. The same dollar that our country has historically gone to war over, taken lives for, and passed legislation to protect. The leverage that the dollar has among the Black community is unmatched by any other minority in the US and if we want our voices to be heard, we must organize and assimilate over that fact.
We do have the power. We have buying power and we can affect change.
If we can gather and assemble on one accord our monetary voices would be heard and in turn, our political and legislative voices could be heard.
So what’s your point Taylor? Who cares? My point is that if we can come together on one day, just one, and spend NO money. Like not a starbucks extra foam frap, bus fare to get across town to see bae, ooh girl my track is slipping emergency beauty supply glue run, then our anger may actually be funneled into productive change.
And guess what?! Black Friday is coming!!
One of the biggest spending days for American retailers. So I charge you, brown, yellow, black, white, purple, pink. Who ever reads this and is tired of watching injustice and not taking a stand. Start with this Friday. Encourage your grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and baby sitters to stay home and enjoy those Thanksgiving leftovers, just for this year. Wait and get those Christmas socks for Paw on Saturday instead.
They’ll still be on sale, I promise.
And maybe, if we can get on one accord they will see that we are not a race who moans and groans and rests on the protests of our ancestors. But instead we are aware that we, too, have a voice that must be heard, and maybe, just maybe, someone will listen. Because Black lives matter.
Be Strong. Be Haute. Be You.