Actor Isaiah Washington called on the African American community nationwide to boycott their obligations this Monday, September 26, the day of the first presidential debate, in the wake of the police shootings of black men in North Carolina and Oklahoma. The actor suggested that the boycott, during which African Americans would avoid going to work, school, and shops, would spur the greater national community to consider the economic impact blacks have in the U.S. and to show the world that black lives matter.
“Imagine if every single African American in the United States that was really fed up with being angry, sad, and disgusted, would pick ONE DAY to simply ‘stay at home’ from every single job, work site, sports arena, and government office in the United States of America” Washington wrote on Facebook. “I’m very sure that within 72 hours from Wall Street to the NFL…Black Lives Would Matter.”
Washington used the hashtags #RIPTerenceCrutcher #HandsUpDontShoot as well as #StayHomeSeptember262016 in his original post, which went up Sept. 21. On Monday Sept. 19, the Tulsa police department released a video that showed 40-year-old Crutcher being shot and killed by police while his hands were in the air. Later that week, another black man was shot and killed by police in Charlotte. Videos of that shooting, witness, and police accounts all tell conflicting stories. The family of Keith Lamont Scott insists he was unarmed, while police say he was holding a gun when they shot and killed him.
On Wednesday, the actor shared another post on the social media site telling followers that he had partnered with Madelon “Blue” McCullough from #Missing24, which seems to be a Twitter account supporting Washington’s cause. On the social media site, #Missing24 is described as “a grassroots movement for our people by our people.” “Our goal is to maintain the safety of our people, while significantly impacting America’s broken judicial system that is oppressing us by removing our labor, our bodies and our money from it … for 24 hours,” he wrote.
On Sunday, the actor posted a response to an interview request from Hazel Pfeifer of CNN, saying he would not speak to media “until the people of America give me a ‘reason’ to. Again, this is not about me alone. It’s about America’s… denial. I would love to speak with Lester Holt on Monday, that’s only if he chooses to ‘stay home’ and make himself available.”
People on Twitter have been tweeting with the hashtags #StayAtHomeSeptember262016 and #Missing24 to show their support for Washington’s protest, but most who are aware of it said the pull of work and bills is keeping them from doing it, which makes it impossible to predict how many people are really participating.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, time.com