For immediate release
Tuesday March 30, 1999
Contact: Maxine Hunter
Economic Sanctions Targets Racism In New York City
Speaking at an economic sanctions rally, March 23rd, hosted by Rev. Calvin O. Butts, at The Abysinnian Baptist Church, New York radio personality, Bob Law, called on Black New Yorkers to use their economic power to force fundamental changes in this city. The first sanctions begin Aprin 1st, when Blacks are urged not to shop on 34th Street or on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn.
The sactions campaign, which was introduced in November, has gained support since the police killing of Amodou Diallo. Black and white speakers addressed the crowd of some 700 people attending the Tuesday night rally. Bob Law pointed out that Black New Yorkers spent 60 Billion dollars in 1998, but are still treated with contempt by much of New York's Business community.
He said "While they continue to receive our dollars, they remain silent in the face of the many levels of racism directed at Blacks. All New Yorders must stand for justice, particularly those who are the recipient of our consumer dollars."
"These sanctions," says Law, "are in support of the efforts of Rev. Sharpton and the Diallo family, as well as the efforts of the Biaz family and the family of Patrick Bailey. They are also in support of The Respect Yourself Youth Organization's effort to eliminate racism in the New York City's public school system. The sanctions are to add power to all of the efforts challenging racism in New York City."
Speakers at the rallly said that comments by the Mayor and the Police Commissioner, were particularly offensive, and made it clear that the Mayor and the commissioner are insensitive to, as well as, incapable of, responding to the legitimate concerns of Black New Yorkers. One statement that was characterized as outrageous was made by Mayor Guilliani, who was quoted in a Long Island Newsday article, as saying "these killings by the police are the price Blacks will have to pay to have safer communities."
Rev. Calvin O. Butts urged the crowd to spread the word and to return Friday to form a volunteer army to begin the systematic distribution of literature. He said "We will have to get the word out to our people ourselvess. It is not likely that the mainstream media will cover this story."
The sanctions campaign has gained the support of Rev. Timothy Mitchell of Queens, The Vulcan Society (The Black Firefighters Association), The Council of Churches of the City of New York, as well as The New York Association of Black Social Workers, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater New York, and the United Missionary Baptist Association.