An Open Letter to the Black Community
On Flexing Our Economic Muscle

No Justice, No Profit!

It Is Time To Harness Black Economic Power And Use It To Demand Justice, While At The Same Time Building And Sustaining The African American Community.

In New York City African Americans spend over $60 Billion annually. However very few of our dollars are reinvested in the Black community.

African American consumers continue to out spend most other consumers. Blacks spent $1.5 Billion more on shoes than we did the year before. $206 Million more on coffee. $691 Million more on food, and we increased our spending on hotel lodging by $274 Million dollars.

Black New Yorkers can no longer freely cooperate with a political / economic system that allows the continued assault on the human rights of people of color. In recent years, racism in New York City has been on the increase. On some levels, it has been subtle. For instance, hospitals have denied Black patients the same quality health care as provided whites. The November 29, 1998 edition of Newsday reports that Blacks get less high-tech medical treatment & later care than do whites even when both are in the same hospital. And Blacks die six years younger than whites, as a result of what that papers yearlong study called "The Health Divide." Also greater amounts of money are set aside for public education in white communities. Less money, less equipment, often-outdated textbooks, as well as teachers with less certification, are placed in Black communities.

On other levels the racism has been explosive. Off duty policemen beating and shooting African Americans in a dispute over a parking-space. Racial profiling, or an off-duty cop shooting a homeless man because he resented his windshield being wiped, and the policeman, is acquitted of all charges—an all to consistent pattern for policemen who are tried by a Judge rather than a jury.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that after twelve years of struggle, it was clear to him that the solution to the "Negro's" problem was the radical redistribution of economic resources, as well as the redistribution of political power.

We may continue to march and protest. However, it is time to harness our economic power and use it to demand respect and justice. Black households are spending more money than their white counterparts, for new cars, clothing, home furnishings and most other items, according to the latest edition of the annual report "The Buying Power Of Black America." However, African Americans are spending 90% of our income with people who disrespect us and often hold us in contempt. It's time to consider taking the next step.

Clearly Black people can no longer wait for a change of heart on the part of the cities power brokers. Instead we must change our own hearts as we change our behavior, and we will change conditions by redirecting our dollars, and using our 400 Billion consumer dollars more efficiently. We have the power to create an economic development fund. We have the power to create an education fund and finance Saturday Academies to supplement the appalling quality of public education that our children are currently subjected to. Currently Black New Yorkers spend about $900 Million dollars annually on soda and soft drinks. That's roughly $450.00 each per household. As a starting point we are calling on Black New Yorkers to redirect half of those soda dollars back into the Black community. We can begin by not buying Cola beverages (cola sales represent half of our soda and soft drink beverages) and instead put that money into the education fund of our choice. (Or call us for information re: The Cush Campus or the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center)

This is not a traditional boycott, but rather a campaign to alert the Black community that by redirecting those dollars that are normally spent in ways that do not benefit the community, we can begin to flex our economic muscle in our own best interest. Simply put we have a need to rearrange our buying habits and to use our dollars in ways that will benefit us most as a community. And it is time to say to those who tolerate racism, "No Justice, No Profit!"

Again, protest is always needed but it is not enough. And make no mistake, we are forced into this economic initiative by the political realities in this society. Therefore we must use the money that we already have to build and sustain the Black community in the same manner that Black consumer dollars have effectively built and sustained many other communities.

Bob Law
Respect Yourself Organization

Bob Knox
NYC Black Social Workers

Don't Shop Where You Are Not Respected
The Citywide Leadership Alliance

For Information call (718) 443-3026

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