Black Lives Matter and other groups plan to block white-owned Chicago stores on Black Friday to bring awareness about police shootings, economic issues and alleged racism.
Local churches, Black Lives Matter and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression will block stores along Michigan Avenue and prevent customers from entering stores for the second year in a row, reports Crain’s Chicago Business.
A big part of the protest is to force on people that it’s important to shop at businesses that aren’t owned by white men, Kimberly Veal, a leader of Black Lives Matter, said. It’s not yet known who owns the businesses that will be targeted as part of this effort.
“One of the cornerstones about why we’re boycotting on Black Friday is to attempt to redirect people to businesses owned by people of color and women, and explain why it’s important to patronize these businesses,” Veal explained.
Last year, protesters blocked shoppers from entering stores on Black Friday to protest the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teen shot 16 times by an officer. Dash cam video revealed the teen ignoring officer commands to stop as he walked away from officers with a knife in his hands.
Police had to help shoppers get into the stores; as one person tried to enter, protesters screamed “Shut it down! Shut it down!”
After last year’s protest, stores’ sales were 25 to 50 percent below their expected projections, according to staff and managers.
A sales associate at Aldo said that her store under-performed by $18,000.
“We were down a lot. We were budgeted to make $37,000 but we only did $19,000 — customers told us they were concerned,”said Sarah Midoun.
One of the protest organizer hopes that this year’s protest will have a larger turnout.
“We’re expecting a bigger turnout this year, though this is not an exact science. The reason we’re looking for a bigger turnout is that Trump is the president-elect and, boy, are people pissed,”Frank Chapman, a field organizer with one of the organizations involved, said.
He added that not only race brings the protesters together. “We’ve been calling everyone who has a grievance: the African-American community, Latino people, the white working class,” Chapman explained. “I’m not going to write the white working class off as racist.”