Social justice activists call for 4th of July boycott until nation lives up to its values

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Activists call for Fourth of July boycott
Activists in Durham and Raleigh are calling for a Fourth of July boycott.

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- Community activists and advocates in Raleigh and in Durham are urging their social-media followers to boycott the Fourth of July this year, telling people not to buy hot dogs, not to buy fireworks. No celebration, they say, until the nation lives up to its values.

"I hope it's going to start a chain reaction," said Durham minister and activist Paul Scott, repeating the call he's been making on social media for weeks.

"People are asking, 'what can I do as an individual to make things better?' Well, one thing everybody can do is boycott July Fourth," Scott said on his Instagram.

It's Scott's response to what he sees as hatred and injustice towards minorities in the current political climate.

"We are experiencing a rise in racial hatred. We have children of immigrants being torn away from their parents," he said. "In this era of 'Trump terror,' I don't think many Americans have too much to celebrate this year."

And so Scott wants to blow a hole in the Fourth. His way of fighting back is by hitting the nation's purse strings.

"Don't buy fireworks, don't buy franks. Don't buy none of that!" he said on Instagram. "That will send a message to this country that we will no longer tolerate injustice."

In Raleigh on Monday night, Scott's message was taking hold.

"This is something that everybody can participate in," community advocate Diana Powell told a group of fellow advocates meeting at the Lighthouse.

Powell's group is strategizing its own version of a July Fourth boycott. On Facebook Live earlier, Powell added her own twist for those who still want to celebrate.

"We want to know what your address is - because we're gonna be crashing cookouts that day," she said in her video.

If invited, they want to turn your July Fourth cookout into a rally for social justice -- and stream it live.

We asked Powell what she would say to critics who believe a boycott of Independence Day is divisive and unpatriotic.

"You look at the gentrification, the homelessness, the struggle, the drugs - it affects us. Do we really feel like we're included? No," she said.

So what does a Fourth of July without the celebration look like?

Scott said parents should use it as a teachable moment for children to talk about freedoms for some that may or may not be extended to others.