Thursday, November 27, 2014 7:55 am
US celebrities called for a boycott to take place Friday — one of the busiest US shopping days — to protest a grand jury’s decision not to prosecute a police officer who fatally shot a black teen.
A number of well-known figures, among them hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, have signed onto the action, under the Twitter hashtags #NotOneDime and #BlackoutBlackFriday.
“We have the power to change our nation. Stand up with @UnitedBlackout on #BlackoutBlackFriday,” tweeted one of the supporters, actress Kat Graham, who stars in TV series “The Vampire Diaries.”
Also backing the campaign was TV star Jesse Williams, while journalist Soledad O’Brien retweeted a message with the hashtag #NotOneDime.
“No Just, No Profit. Corporate/public power only speaks $. So let’s talk to ’em,” Williams tweeted, along with a link to a video compilation of police brutality.
Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
The planned campaign calls for a one-day moratorium on spending to protest what it calls “staggering” human rights violations in the United States, including police brutality.
The boycott was prompted by widespread outrage after a grand jury on Monday failed to indict a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri who shot and killed black 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
Protests erupted across the US after the decision.
America’s 43 million black citizens will hold about $1.1 trillion in purchasing power by 2015, a Nielsen study said.
Meanwhile, the streets of Ferguson were decidedly calmer Wednesday after two days of nationwide protests against the decision not to prosecute a white policeman who shot dead an unarmed black teenager.
Just a few dozen protesters and clergy braved rain and light snow to protest outside the police department in the St Louis suburb, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed on August 9.
A Missouri grand jury decided Monday not to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson, who fired the fatal shots — a move that inspired coast-to-coast anger in the United States as well as a rally across the Atlantic in London.
The simmering fury led a small group of protesters to attempt to storm St Louis city hall earlier in the day. After they were rebuffed, extra police and a National Guard Humvee were drafted to protect the building.
In Ferguson late Wednesday, the group of mostly young people — bundled up against the cold — shouted, “This is what democracy looks like.”
One or two taunted and swore at the 50 National Guard in riot gear who stood on duty at the police department.
Witnesses said police took one person into custody.
Earlier in the day, volunteer clean-up crews swept the streets of Ferguson, where angry crowds on Monday torched businesses and looted stores.
Heavy security — police, state troopers and National Guard troops — was still visible in the streets Wednesday, but the situation was stabilizing. Already, Tuesday night did not see the scale of destruction that followed Monday’s decision.
“I think generally it was a much better night,” St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar told reporters, despite a police car having been set on fire and more businesses having been attacked.
Many thousands of people on Tuesday joined demonstrations in dozens of cities — a relatively rare occurrence in America, and evidence that the case has struck a raw nerve in race relations.
In Britain, thousands of sympathizers angered by Brown’s treatment marched in London chanting the same slogan: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”