Black Leaders In St. Louis Urge To Boycott Target And Other Stores

If you want to get attention you have to know what will make an impact. No doubt, money talks. Black faith and civic leaders, who were recently involved in recent protests over the acquittal of a former white police officer in the killing of a black suspect in St. Louis, recently announced at a news conference their call for an economic boycott of Target, a dozen businesses and a grocery store chain, according to the Associated Press.

At the news conference, the Rev. Dinah Tatman said blacks are subjected to excessive force by police, criminalized for minor infractions and saddled with long sentences, according to the Associated Press. She went to talk about economic disparities, efforts to diminish voting rights and political redistricting that has made it harder for black people to have their say in elections.

“As Main Street America enjoys social and economic prosperity, our community continues to erode, causing intense strain on our family structure and resulting in high unemployment rates and wanton incarceration of our black men,” Tatman said at the news conference.

It’s not surprising that the boycotts would come now as the holiday season heats up. According to the Associated Press, Tatman said some “strategic” protests are planned outside of businesses during the holiday season, but she declined to offer details.

Why are retailers getting called on the carpet? The reasons vary, like allegedly dissing black customers or workers.  According to the Associated Press, the boycott organizers say Schnucks Markets, with more than 60 stores in the St. Louis area is on the hit list because it is a major contributor of Republican candidates.

In a prepared statement, Schnucks said it was “surprised and disappointed” to be included in the boycott and that it has customers and employees “from across the demographic spectrum.” It also said it Schnucks helps low-income families and provides more than $13 million in food products to pantries each year.

Target Corp., which has 18 stores in the St. Louis area, is listed because of a legal dispute allowing it to use Rosa Parks’ name and image on civil rights-themed merchandise.

Target said in a statement that the lawsuit filed several years ago “was without merit and was dismissed.” The company said it works hard to “demonstrate inclusivity” in its products, including a collection of items celebrating Black History Month.

“We work with vendors and African-American team members and guests to ensure our Black History Month products will resonate with our guests,” the company said.

But for now, no justice, no peace, and no shopping either.

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