Here is How We Will Boycott Injustice and Police Brutality in America

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. championed the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. (Photo: Gene Herrick/AP)

Here is How We Will Boycott Injustice and Police Brutality in America

Last Thursday, I wrote a column on the need for us to add a serious, creative, long-term, nationwide economic boycott to our strategy on how to combat police brutality, racial violence and systemic injustice in America.

Sustained protests have built worldwide awareness and discussion around the problem, but we must pivot from awareness to change. Our protests must continue, but it appears that policymakers around the country are fully willing to endure and absorb our protests and pleas without actually reforming the problems plaguing our communities.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about police brutality and the protests being staged by athletes all across the country.

"I absolutely understand why they're doing what they're doing, and I respect their courage for what they've done," he said.

"The question is whether it will do any good or not, because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure -- whether it was Dr. King getting large groups of people together boycotting buses, or what's happening in Carolina with the NBA and other organizations pulling events."

I agree with Pop. The man only knows how to keep it real. The protests build awareness, be they on the football field, the basketball court, the soccer pitch, or in the streets -- but they don't build the political and economic pressure required to force the hand of politicians to bring about the change. We need to force their hand.

That's why I just introduced

On this Dec. 5, the anniversary of when Dr. King and others began the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, we are launching our own Montgomery Bus Boycott to show every city, state, institution and corporation in this country that meaningful, reasonable, achievable reforms on police brutality and injustice are not our long-term dreams. They are our immediate emergency priority.

It is going to take the same type of determination and organization that we saw with the Montgomery Bus Boycott over 60 years ago for us to succeed. We've done it before. We can do it again. We will do it again.

In just a few days, 79,089 people from all 50 states and countries all around the world have joined us.

By now, you've probably signed many petitions the past few years. This is not a petition.

This is you making a pledge that you will boycott cities, states, businesses, and institutions which are either willfully indifferent to police brutality and racial injustice or are deliberately destructive partners with it.

To be clear, to be willfully indifferent is to be deliberately destructive -- so our boycott will treat indifference and outright contempt as one in the same.

In Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he echoed as much and said that it was not the overt bigotry that was breaking his heart, but the painful silence from those who were passively complicit.

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people," he wrote.

And so it is today. Passively complying with slavery, genocide or widespread injustice is actually a form of support. We've crossed a line in this country right now where this must no longer be tolerated on our watch.

What follows is a very basic framework for how the Injustice Boycott will work.

1. We will not be releasing the names of the cities, states, businesses, and institutions that we will be boycotting until Dec. 5, 2016. Between now and then, we hope that cities and states around the country will begin to enact emergency legislation and policies to prevent police brutality and racial violence. Furthermore, we do not want any potential institutions to somehow undermine our efforts.

2. We can tell you this, our boycott will be national. That means we will be boycotting:

  • Entire cities and states much like what you see being done in North Carolina right now over the anti-LGBT House Bill 2.
  • Particular brands and corporations who partner with and profit from systemic oppression.
  • Particular brands and corporations headquartered in cities and states notorious for police brutality and racial violence, which say and do little to nothing about it.
  • Particular institutions, including banks, which fund, underwrite, inform, train or otherwise support systemic oppression and brutality.

3. We will spend the next nine weeks carefully crafting each and every target and we will provide detailed justifications for each and every target when we launch on Dec. 5. When we launch, we will methodically roll out each and every target in a strategic and creative manner.

4. We will spend the next nine weeks carefully building a coalition of partner organizations, leaders and businesses who will be co-sponsors of the boycott. This has already started.

5. We will be providing meaningful, substantive alternatives and exceptions for each target of the boycott to help support those who stand against injustice in those cities and states.

6. We will be providing each city, state, business and institution a clear path out of the boycott.

7. The purpose of this boycott is visible, measurable, tangible change. When cities and states enact serious, credible reforms, we will end our boycott of our targets there. Otherwise, the boycott will continue indefinitely -- like the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

8. We do expect this boycott to last for months, or even years, not days or weeks.

9. We will launch the next public phase of our strategic plan on Nov. 2. Until then, our efforts will be stealthy and behind the scenes.

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