Several people of color were exchanging displays of fireworks for fists raised to the sky to boycott the Fourth of July. They also proposed that cookouts focus not on celebrating Independence Day, but on conscious calls for justice.
Diana Powell, a community advocate in Raleigh, North Carolina, has asked people across the nation to think hard about the litany of issues affecting people of color. Those issues — running the gamut from police brutality and mass incarceration to gentrification and anti-immigration policies — have given no cause for celebration.
“How many of you all feel you’ve been set free in America today?,” Powell said in a Facebook Live video, acknowledging racism, white supremacy and the Trump era having torn families apart. “What are we celebrating? … They let us get so much in life but at the end of the day, we are not free.”
Powell has suggested that those who want to still gather on the Fourth can come together for a day of demonstrations that can be streamed live.
Paul Scott, a minister and activist in Durham, has been calling for the boycott for several weeks on social media, according to local news outlet ABC 13. The rise in racial hatred, he said, has spurred him to suggest that people don’t buy franks or fireworks on the Fourth.
“That [not buying] will send a message to this country that we will no longer tolerate injustice,” he said on Instagram.
Social media users responded in force to the videos released.
“I don’t see it to be a celebration because they’re still trying to hold us in bondage,” one said on Powell’s page.
The idea for the boycott also comes after several communities of color across the nation have celebrated Juneteenth on June 19. The annual celebration, marking the end of slavery, is commonly referred to as Black Independence Day.