Black Lives Matter group calls for economic boycott

Black Lives Matter group calls for economic boycott

Category : News

SHEVILLE – Organizers with Black Lives Matter are encouraging the public to patronize black businesses for the next two days to stand in solidarity with protesters in Charlotte.

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The Asheville Black Out is set for Sept. 26-27. It is part of a national call to action.

“Black lives do matter in this country and so does black wealth and black money,” said DeLores Venable, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Asheville.

In an open Facebook invitation, the group is encouraging people to spend with black vendors, avoid public transportation and deny support to an economy that sanctions “the death of black Americans with their corporate silence.”

“Just like in other cities, just like in Charlotte, just like in Tulsa, we have a dead black man in this city as well,” Venable said. “Asheville is just like everywhere else.”

Local activists, many of whom traveled recently to protest in Charlotte, have questioned whether an officer used excessive force July 2 in shooting Jai “Jerry” Williams, 35, following a high-speed chase that ended at Deaverview Apartments.

The incident is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation.

A Community Losing Hope

“As progressive as Asheville has become, (African-Americans) have definitely lost their footing economically, as well as with criminal justice and human rights,” Venable said. “This city doesn’t have anywhere near the (African-American owned) business we use to have years ago.”

Minorities owned 9.75 percent of businesses in Asheville in 2012 — just 1,247 of some 12,785 firms, according to the U.S. Census. In the 2010 count, 79.3 percent of city’s population identified as white only.

Many members of Asheville’s African-American population struggle with poverty.

Fifty percent of the residents living in the subsidized housing neighborhoods managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville are African-American, yet only 13.4 percent of the city’s total residents identify as black.

“There is not a huge variety of black vendors and business owners,” Venable said. “That’s one of things we have been denied here.”

Reprinted from Citizen Times

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