By Myles Battle
The silver lining in the dark cloud that covered America in the wake of the Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks murders is the unity and solidarity in which people from all walks of life protested these egregious acts of injustice. Every reputable news outlet has captured poignant images of people from all races, ethnicities, and ages marching to support the “Black Lives Matter” movement and bring attention to the systemic social and racial inequalities that America is guilty of perpetuating on it’s black and brown citizens for centuries. And make no mistake about, this is a good start. However, in order to enact REAL CHANGE, protesting alone won’t be enough.
The Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955 is one of the most successful and impactful boycotts in American History. Not only because it yielded the intended result of eradicating seat restrictions based on skin color and making the City of Montgomery hire more black bus drivers. But it was calculated that the City of Montgomery lost $3,000 per day during the 381 days the boycott lasted. When it was all said and done, racism inevitably cost the City of Montgomery approximately $1.1 million (equivalent to approximately 10 million today) in bus fare revenue all because black people had enough and simply refused to accept racist and unfair social policies as a societal norm. So what did that experience teach us? When you hit someone where it hurts (in their wallet or pocketbooks) and their livelihood is threatened, then and only then do you have their unequivocal undivided attention.
It’s imperative that the younger generation realizes that Money, Power, Respect isn’t just a rap song by the Lox that featuring Lil Kim and DMX. It’s actually a blueprint to precipitate real change and gives a voice to the voiceless and disenfranchised. However, in order to achieve the intended results it must be done in the spirit of togetherness and cohesion. Support Black businesses and exercise your purchase power with companies that are willing to stand firm in the fight against systemic institutionalized racism. When Millennials and Generation Z exercise their political power by voting and economic power by boycotting companies that are directly complicit in supporting racist behavior, then real change will occur. Protesting, marching, picketing, and civil disobedience is a good start, however, now it’s time for REAL ACTION to expedite REAL CHANGE. Let your money and votes do all the talking.