This past Sunday, I spoke at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for their annual program honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. King, Jr., and the moderator asked those of us on the panel an essential question. It’s a question we must all come to grips with.
He asked us, with Democrats now controlling the governments in just four states, and with Republicans now controlling the House and the Senate, and with us less than 100 hours away from the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, do we plan on being on nothing but defense these next 4 years, or will we have any offensive strategy at all for what we will fight for and accomplish?
It’s a painful question, because indeed a lot of what we will be doing over these next four years will be defensive. We are going to have to fight, daily, to protect people from problematic policies and actions that are sure to come. But listen, I refuse to accept that all we have is defense. It’s a lie.
We are better than that. We must form an offensive strategy to fight for the advancement of our people. If we spend the next four years doing nothing but complaining about Trump’s tweets, we lose, and we lose big.
On December 5th, we launched Phase 1 of the Injustice Boycott. And it lasted until yesterday. Thousands of our listeners have joined in. And over the past 45 days, really just an awareness phase to teach people what we are about, I’ll be honest, I’ve been shocked at what we accomplished.
We raised nearly $4 million in aid for the people of Standing Rock to help them fight the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Just last week, when we learned that the NBA’s Golden State Warriors had hired San Francisco’s disgraced police chief, who was fired amidst mounting murders and bigotry from his department, we raised holy hell with the Warriors. Tens of thousands of us emailed and called every employee there to tell them how we felt about it. They fired him later that afternoon.
For the past month, we have tried to educate people about something truly shameful going on in New York. Alongside North Carolina, which has become almost like a modern day Mississippi, New York is 1 of only 2 states in the nation that automatically prosecutes every child 16 years or older as an adult for any and every crime they commit – not just murder, but every crime.
And for the past 45 days, we have bombarded every elected official in New York and told them that they need to Raise The Age. And I’m proud to report that our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address, said that he heard us loud and clear. He made “Raise the Age” an official part of his platform for 2017 and is now calling on the New York State legislature to make it into law.
Today, we are announcing Phase 2 of the Injustice Boycott. Later this afternoon at InjusticeBoycott.com, we are announcing rolling boycotts in New York, San Francisco, and Standing Rock. As the boycotts in those cities achieve our goals, we will replace, one by one, those cities, with new cities. For the past 45 days, we’ve given the people in power in those places plenty of time to hear our very reasonable concerns, and our very reasonable proposals, for the most basic, essential reforms demanding that we receive the dignity we deserve.
Now, it’s time for us to make our money do the talking. We tried tweets, and we will keep tweeting. We tried phone calls, and we will keep calling. We tried emails and Facebook blasts, and we will keep doing those, but in this country, it’s money that does the talking.
We must let people in power in cities and states that rely on our votes and support that if they do not do right by us, we will do as Dr. King and Rosa Parks did 62 years ago and boycott your city or your company until either the loss of our support or the shame our protests will bring down, causes you to change your mind.
At around 1 p.m. today, we will be announcing our plans and further instructions for Phase 2 of the boycott at InjusticeBoycott.com. Yes, we have to be on defense, but we must fight in new ways for the people and policies that matter.