Organizers are urging everyone to join together and turn their backs on the nation’s biggest shopping day, Black Friday. The action comes after a grand jury decided not to bring charges against the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.
The activist group Blackout For Human Rights hopes that disrupting the season’s most prominent consumer day of the year brings notice to their grief over Brown’s death and police brutality against citizens of color. The campaign uses the hashtag #BlackoutBlackFriday across social media platforms, but especially on Twitter, to raise awareness about human rights violations.
Last year, Business Insider reports Thanksgiving weekend sales in stores topped at $12.3 billion. Some businesses started Black Friday sales as early as Wednesday this year. With over 3 million Twitter users supporting #BlackoutBlackFriday, its impact on the consumer statistics for Black Friday this year are unknown.
African Americans collectively make up an estimated one trillion dollars in buying power. A study conducted by Nielsen says, “black consumers have notable distinctions from other consumer groups, and understanding this group critical to making lasting connections.” The numbers continue to grow and could reach $1.3 trillion by 2017 at the rate of influence African Americans have on the consumer market.
Despite the social media excitement, not everyone supports the idea. “I do respect their efforts, but, frankly, I don’t think this case is big enough to put a hold on one of the most looked-forward to days of the year,” says senior Kristie Gorie. “The fact that the sales started sooner will make up for the chunk of people who will boycott Black Friday in honor of Michael Brown,” she says.
Ziggy Mckenzie, ’15, specifically waits for Black Friday each year and this year will be no different. “The deals are amazing,” says Mckenzie who stands in line around 11 PM on Thursday so that he gets things checked off his list before they are sold out from stores. “Numbers will increase this year. The protest will have little impact,” Mckenzie says.
As part of Blackout Black Friday, protestors will gather in Herald Square near Macy’s on Friday at 1 PM. For more information, click here.