Social Policy

#GrabYourWallet Spending Habits are Changing in Protest of President Elect and Ongoing Police Brutality

The Injustice Boycott begins this Monday, on protesting police brutality and its function within cities, states, businesses and institutions.The Boycott takes place December 5th on the anniversary of Dr. King’s 381 day Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. bus_boycottHowever people are already getting into the habit of spending with political influence. Many Americans, particularly African Americans, feel betrayed by the economic system that they so heavily invest in with their $1.2 trillion of buying power. The “American Dream” for Black America has widely been limited to entertainment and athletic roles. Many African American children do not expect to receive a higher education outside of an athletic scholarship, and 1 in 4 Black men on average will go to prison in their lifetime. For hundreds of years of Blacks have been deliberately and systematically oppressed socially, politically and economically in the United States. Even today as Blacks are excluded from the privileges given to Whites as apart of Western white supremacist culture. 

Now we are tired of funding this destructive system. There are several corporations who profit from the suppression of people of color, and people worldwide are identifying these corporations and committing to cutting these businesses out of their lives. For example many activists, including myself, have refused to purchase from corporations who use prison labor as apart of their business practices. These places to avoid include Starbucks, Victoria Secret, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Wall-Mart, Wendy’s, McDonald’s and the list goes on. When I cancelled my BOA account I told the teller exactly why and she had no response. It baffles me that people recognize the wicked ways of the systems we have in place and yet ignore those issues because it doesn’t effect them. White America is accustomed to benefiting off of the oppression of others. This is why those who are fed up with these systems are committed to boycotting them. 

Even before the launch of the injustice boycott organizers on twitter are identifying companies who’ve supported Trump’s campaign or done business with his family under the hashtag #GrabYourWallet. grabyodonald-trump-c-768urwallet.org displays a chart of data that includes 3 groups 1. Companies to Boycott due to the fact that there are a retailer doing business with Trump,  a Trump owned brand or a Trump operated business. These include TJ Maxx, Sears, Marshalls, Amazon, Ross, Nordstrom and about 35 other names. The second group includes additional companies to consider boycotting for endorsing trump or raising funds for his campaign. These include Hobby Hobby, a Christian themed craft store that endorsed Trump, and People Magazine as a mainstream media outlet normalizing Trump and his dangerous behavior.
The third group listed are those that were not being officially being boycotted at this time, being identified due to a past Trump related incident. For example, Kanye West is listed for his favoring Trump in the media. #GrabYourWallet urges the importance of focusing on retailers rather than individuals. 

Supporters have already begun cancelling their memberships, accounts and other relationships with the those screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-56-30-pmidentified on grabyourwallet.org Once I saw the list was published I was ecstatic because it is important for organizers to collect and publish information that the masses can easily consume and follow. Organizers put this list together and made it available publicly for the masses to take action. It’s our turn to choose to commit to staying away from these stores, brands and sites no matter what previous relationships we’ve had and no matter what deal their offering. Our mindset needs to stretch beyond affordability, this strike is about dismantling a system that has killed hundreds of people and allowed for corporations to benefit off of the imprisonment, death and destruction of people of color. 

Now that our battle cry has been recognized worldwide, we must be strategic, recognizing that in order to see change we must inconvenience ourselves. Our ancestors chose to walk for miles boycotting the bus so we can go the extra mile to boycott business that have contributed to the destruction of our community or those that ignore us and remain indifferent on these human rights issues. 

To this day I’m infuriated by the fact that the main agenda of the Black community, relating to mass incarceration and police brutality, was entirely ignored in the 2016 presidential election. It was also entirely ignored by our own  Black President that we voted into office. Our agenda’s have been the same since they were identified by Civil Rights leaders in the 1960s and Black Panther Leaders in the 1980s and those have been continuously ignored for generations because we have refused to find the value in doing business with each other. During this time that we are separating ourselves from mindless, uninformed spending habits we should try to connect ourselves the business alternatives within our one communities. Check out the Seattle Black Business Directory to alternatives in this area in multiple industries. Also attend events, markets and mixers in your local area featuring Black business owners like the Black Arts Love Mixer and Marketplace that happened in Seattle on Small Business Saturday. 

As the holidays approach I know that all of the businesses identified in the #GrabYourWallet Campaign and the Injustice Boycott will see their profits decrease and as a result not only reform their business practices, but also see the value that our community has in their industry. There are 172,374 people committed to participating in the boycott, including myself. Here is the link to sign up to participate. 

Our power is in our ability to organize and show our economic influence. I’m happy to see that we are already getting a head start. 

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About Amani Sawari

I am a University of Washington alum, Class of 2016. I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in two majors: Media and Communications AND Law, Economics and Public Policy. It’s a mouthful but it illustrates how I have a hard time doing only one ‘thing’. I am a writer, poet, singer, songwriter and much more. I enjoy sharing my experiences and perspectives with those who are interested and I am a proud member of the black diaspora!

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