CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of activists staged a demonstration Friday morning at the Historic Chicago Water Tower on Michigan Avenue, calling for a boycott to protest the controversial grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.
With anger still simmering over the grand jury’s refusal to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson with any crime for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, protests have continued throughout the week across the U.S.
Protesters have called for a boycott of Black Friday shopping, in an effort to call attention to what they called the inherent injustice of capitalism.
“We’re in a system that values black dollars, but not black bodies. So we want to send a message on this day, particularly for everybody, to not spend money on a system that will not deliver justice,” said Malcolm London, with the Black Youth Project 100.
Dozens of protesters took over Water Tower Plaza on Friday, drawing looks from passing shoppers as they chanted, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no profit,” and carried signs reading “Brown Friday,” “Boycott Black Friday,” “People Over Profits,” “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” and “Hands Up, Don’t Spend.”
Kristiana Colón, executive director of the Let Us Breathe Collective, helped organized the protest rally, and a “die-in” at the Water Tower. Members of the collective have been protesting in Ferguson all week.
“We are protesting here on Black Friday to encourage people not to shop, and not to spend, in solidarity with those people. We believe that the police in Chicago, in Ferguson, and across America are more concerned with protecting retail business, commerce, and property than they are with protecting people, their lives, and their rights,” she said. “So long as the system is more interested in corporations and corporate greed than people, we are asking people to divest in those corporations.”
Shoppers didn’t seem to be deterred, but many did stop to look and listen.
Members of Occupy Chicago also were taking part in the protest, and said they planned to stay at Water Tower Plaza for 4 ½ hours – the same amount of time they said Brown’s body laid in the street after he was killed.