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Filmmakers Launch #BlackoutBlackFriday Day of Activism, Events and Retail Boycott

In the wake of the decision not to prosecute Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler has joined with Selma director and AFFRM founder Ava DuVernay to launch Blackout for Human Rights, “a network committed to ending human rights violations at the hands of public servants.” The group, which includes a number of directors, actors and others, builds on this week’s nationwide protests with events and actions, including today’s #BlackoutBlackFriday.

From the group’s Tumblr:

About #BlackoutBlackFriday: We ask those who stand with Ferguson, victims of police brutality and us to refrain from shopping on Black Friday and participate in a nationwide day of action and activism. Our lives are joined by the money we spend as consumers. Today, more than ever, the levers of power – civic, corporate, industrial, capital – are tied to one another and to our economy. The US economy depends on our shopping, especially during the holiday season. But the lives of our brothers and sisters are worth more than the dollars we can save on holiday gifts. Together, we can make a historic stand against police brutality and spark change. Let’s demonstrate our unity. Take this single day off of shopping to #showyourworth and join us in a day of action.

Events occurring today include, in New York, a screenplay reading of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing at Lincoln Center with John Turturro (as Sal), Michael B. Jordan (as Mookie), Melonie Diaz, Kentucky Audley, Will Janowitz and others. The reading will take place at the Eleanor Bunin Munroe Ampitheather at 7PM, and tickets, which are free, will be distributed one hour before the screening.

The reading is organized by Coogler and director Shaka King (Newlyweeds). In a statement, Coogler said, “In keeping with Blackout (for Human Rights’) theme of making Friday November 28th a day of activism over consumerism, we thought that doing a screenplay reading of Spike Lee’s classic with a contemporary cast would be a great way to give people an alternative to shopping. New York is the city the whole country looks to for cultural leadership and with the recent human rights violations committed against New York citizens Eric Garner and Akai Lupica, we felt that this story of how New Yorker’s viewed and treated each other 25 years ago is just as relevant now as it was then.”

In Los Angeles, there will be a day of “Cinema, Conversation and Change” at Downtown Independent. Also free, the event includes screenings of Fruitvale Station, DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere and Mike L. Brown’s 25 to Life, with panel discussions afterwards.

For events in Oakland and other cities, visit the Blackout page.

Blackout for Human Rights is engaged across all the major social media platforms, and its members have posted a number of powerful videos on its YouTube Channel. Posted above is a video by Terrence Nance urging shoppers to stay home on today’s Black Friday. Below is a video by Shaka King that explains why “Emerald Garner Can’t Buy Her Dad a Christmas Present This Year.”

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