We recently received an email from a customer who was unhappy with our decision to close on "Black Friday" in protest of police brutality. I have decided to respond with an open letter on the subject. Please read below:
As for us closing on Black Friday. I have a couple thoughts:
• Judging from this email, you have some strong feelings about how the world is going and you just exercised your right to free speech in order to tell us about ourselves. It's that same right to free speech that we exercised when we shut down on Friday.
• Now you are boycotting us. Well as much as I hate to lose a customer...I am actually proud to have instigated someone else taking a stand for something they believe in, much like we did on Friday.
• I am not afraid of my convictions or shy about them. I run a "mom and pop" business that is a reflection of the owner. Not some faceless corporation. If our actions have caused you to feel this way then I respect the stance you are taking. But I am confused. Are you upset because we closed for a day of protest for something we believe in or because we didn't stay closed longer, thus are you are challenging us to do more? Or was it because you disagree with what we are fighting for? I will make an assumption that its the latter based on your "some thug got shot" sentiments.
For the record...what I am frustrated about is a consistent abuse of power over one particular demographic in this country (Police vs. African Americans). I don't think all police are bad or that all African Americans are good but I am not blind to a sever imbalance and bias in the system. Furthermore, if this was the case of "some thug getting shot" than what I really wanted was a trial to at least prove or disprove what you or I may believe. The facts are:
• Darren Wilson's initial police report was nearly blank and had no details of what happened. This is important because typically this would have had all the information of what happened that day as a first hand account from the police. Since he waited so long to eventually fill one out (if he ever did) he was able to hear and see the evidence and make his story fit around the evidence. Thus by the time he got to trial he could have formed his version of the story as he pleased, with nothing to keep him honest. If this case were brought to trial by an unbiased prosecutor this would be very important. Instead a lot of people are being mislead by his story coaborating the evidence when in fact he only made his story up after the fact.
• A grand jury isn't even necessary. The prosecutor could have simply brought this to trial without this step.
• The grand jury step has a +90% success rate, because there is typically no defense. The prosecutor just brings his/her points to the table to show that there is enough evidence for this to even go to trial. In this case the persecutor let the jury hear opposing arguments. Almost as if he didn't want this to go to trial. This is highly questionable and goes lock and step with how the system has not been fair to poor African Americans in this country.
...and while I am on my soap box...
Too often I hear things like this:
"If African American's are so concerned about the lives of their young people, why don't they stop black on black crime first"?
My first reaction is admittedly not my own...it's something my friend Jesse Williams once said to me, which is. There is no such thing as black on black crime. People typically do crimes within the communities that they are in and in America, most African American's live around each other and thus would be committing crimes against each other. Just like most White American's live around each other and thus commit crimes against each other in the same way. And when this happens no one calls it white on white crime? The adverse and equally dumb version of that question might sound like...
"If White Americans are so concerned about crime, why don't they stop all white crimes first"?
I am also very distraught by some of the celebrities and famous sports figures that have spoken out against the protesters. Unfortunately, because they can rebound a basketball well, they are in the public eye more and thus get to voice there uneducated opinions about something that they clearly haven't put much thought to.
Lastly, also often hear, "all police aren't bad, what about the good ones"?
In the past I would have said that I 100% agree and although I am not suggesting that I don't still feel the same, I have to admit that a new thought has entered my mind on this part of the conversation. That thought is:
"Where are all these good cops"? Why haven't any "good police officers" spoken out against the police brutality. I am not sure if I have heard any good police come out and speak up against any of the atrocities that have been happening in recent weeks? I fear the reason why is because they are a big gang, just like the gangs they are out there supposedly protecting us from.