Thanksgiving is the traditional starting bell of our season of mass consumerism, the intensity of which is analyzed by investors and the stock market to determine the economic health of our nation. (“FALSE!” says Robert Reich, here.)
However, this year is profoundly different. Not only are we having to negotiate whether or not we can gather with loved ones safely, we face a wildly changed economic landscape, where, in the richest nation on earth, 20% of us face food insecurity, a level not seen since the Great Depression. Those photos of rows of cars, waiting at food banks, those are 21st- century version of earlier soup lines.
A record 80 million of us banded together to overthrow an incipient dictator. If we thought of our holiday spending as an S.O.S. (Save Our-Selves) action, we would work to return money to the economy in ways that help ourselves and fellow workers, instead of enriching the offshore accounts of billionaires.
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Stop throwing your money “into the Amazon” – Join the #BlackOutBezos” campaign.
(Courage CA Campaign) “Christian Smalls was working in an Amazon warehouse when the coronavirus pandemic started, and he soon realized that he and his fellow employees were in grave danger. Amazon was not providing PPE or mandating proper social distancing, and a fellow employee died of the virus. He then organized the warehouse workers to demand better health care protections — and Amazon promptly fired him. ..Smalls has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the workers, who are mostly Latinx and Black.
We consumers need to have his back, as well as that of all the warehouse workers who continue to suffer under Amazon’s terrible working conditions. Amazon has launched its “Black Friday Week” today, and we want to convince as many people as possible to avoid this sale and shop local instead.
Take the pledge: “I pledge to not shop at Amazon for Black Friday or Cyber Monday” (Petition here.) and tell your friends and family why you’re not shopping with Amazon during the busiest shopping days of the season. There are plenty of reasons, including:
- The corporation was caught purposely stealing product ideas in order to put third-party merchants out of business.
- Nearly 20,000 of its warehouse workers have contracted COVID-19 due to its practices.
- Employees are twice as likely to be injured than in other similar jobs.
- CEO Jeff Bezos is amassing a level of wealth never before seen in America — now at $200 billion.
Looking for gifts or household goods? – “Invest” in local and minority-owned businesses instead.
(If we’ve missed good resources, please send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line “RESOURCES)
- SHOP BLACK WEEK: November 20-27 is Shop Black Week, where every consumer is asked to support a black-owned business by making at least one purchase in order to “permanently and systematically change the economic condition of the Black community forever.” As Black Friday approaches, early projections indicate that over $400 million will be spent during Shop Black Week (SBW) 2020. This year SBW has over 200 participating organizations that represent over 1.5 million members, subscribers, and followers who will share and hashtag #shopblackweek to encourage all Americans to participate. Click here for participating businesses in your state or online.
- BLACK & INDIGENOUS BUSINESSES: A Simi Valley woman put together this great list of alternate gift shopping: ”With the socially distant holidays coming up and the need to support small businesses with COVID affecting them, I wanted to make an effort to purchase from Black and Indigenous owned small businesses instead of shopping at big corporations. It took a lot of time to research different businesses, so I just compiled a ton I found into an organized list so that I could share with others who also want to support these businesses but maybe don’t have the time to research them. Especially with the need for not gathering in groups or traveling, it is a great alternative to use for shipping gifts to your friends/family. Disclaimer: I do not take ownership of “discovering” any of these businesses.“
- LOCAL BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES: Black-owned businesses in Ventura County on this great spreadsheet here.
- NATIVE-OWNED BUSINESSES: This list is from this great article and others.
- ASIAN AMERICAN BUSINESSES: “Asian-owned and Asian American small businesses have been uniquely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, both by racial discrimination tying the virus to Chinese identity, and the overrepresentation of ethnically Asian workers in service-facing industries.” Over 2,100 anti-Asian American hate incidents related to COVID-19 were reported across the country over a three-month time span between March and June.
- ETSY SHOPS/others: There are a lot to choose from. Here’s a minute sampling.
- CULTURAL SURVIVAL VIRTUAL BAZAAR: Cultural Survival Bazaars are a series of cultural festivals that provide Indigenous artists, cooperatives, and their representatives from around the world the chance to sell their work directly to the U.S. public. See their wares here.
- SUPPORT GREENER OPTIONS:
- Black Lives Matter Library of audiobooks for kids! Not every gift has to cost money. This is a very cool resource for kids! Click on a book, and it’s read aloud to them!
Don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving Day!
More companies are closing on Thanksgiving than in recent years. Some stores have always closed, like Costco, but a number of previous offenders are now joining them – some due to the pandemic, and some due to resistors like us giving store executives a hard time for their bottomless greed.
(From Labor 411) Stores opening on Thanksgiving night has been a divisive issue for years. This year, major retailers Target, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have dropped the surprising news that for the first time in years, they will keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving, November 26, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (List of stores open and closed on Thanksgiving here.)
There is no reason that Big Lots, Cabela’s and Bass Pro shops need to be open on Thanksgiving. They aren’t offering critical services. These are companies that just sell stuff, one day earlier than Black Friday, at the cost of low paid employees not getting a paid day off to spend with their families, like everyone else.
Minimal Script to Cabela’s/Bass Pro billionaire owner Johnny Morris:
Dear Mr. Morris, why are your shops open on Thanksgiving Day? They aren’t offering critical services, like emergency room workers, police officers or firefighters, or medications, like pharmacies. In pre-pandemic times, forcing employees to shorten or skip their own family celebrations, was considered anti-family. Now, with COVID, time spent with family members is even more precious, and a day off from contact with potentially contagious customers a beneficial break.
Your company is supposed to be pro-conservation, which is great. However, human beings deserve consideration as well. It’s easy to find outdoor-related products from companies who treat their employees respectfully and I will encourage others to do so as well. At the end of the day, you have to ask…was that last bit of profit I made off my employees’ sacrifice worth it?
Send to: https://basspro.custhelp.com/app/ask