Letter from Rahiel

#UnitedWeFight - Heather Wilson-2381

St. Louis, MO on the one year anniversary of the murder of Mike Brown. Photo by Healther Wilson.

#NotOneDime was created on November 24, 2014, shortly after the announcement of the Ferguson decision. As protests erupted throughout the streets of America, many Urban Cusp followers urged for boycott measures to be taken on Black Friday. A friend, Stephanie Crumpton, posted on Urban Cusp’s wall saying “not one dime” should be spent. That was the inspiration to the hashtag and meme I created. From that moment on, #NotOneDime channelled our collective rage towards an economic boycott that empowered people to resist America’s obsession with rampant materialism on the day it profits the most from it.

We’re paying the price for state sanctioned violence with our lives and America needs to feel that same pain we feel of daily loss – in its pocket. We can no longer be passive about the power we posses as a $1.1 trillion economic force. We must capitalize on that power for our civil and human rights needs.

The fact that there was any decline in sales on Black Friday, but 11% amounting in a $6.5 billion loss, is absolutely significant and celebratory. The decline mattered despite the fact that the mainstream media did not acknowledge the role of the boycotts. Ironic that so many cable news networks covered the boycott throughout Friday and online news outlets wrote about it but did not make the connection in their coverage of a sales decline.

We, however, know that an economic boycott led by young black Americans in response to the Ferguson decision played a major role. The boycott galvanized through social media started out as an online grassroots effort but caught the attention of countless African American celebrities who backed it by promoting to their millions of followers. Our collective efforts were a tremendous display of solidarity and resistance by a community that is fed with up racial profiling and the systemic devaluation of black life. This is a kairos moment challenging us to recognize our collective economic power as a community.

– Rahiel Tesfamariam