King announced the first phase of the boycott in a Medium post yesterday, which marked the 61st anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. That phase will last until Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16. King explained the timeframe as a way of honoring those important Civil Rights figures and reclaiming their legacies. ”They were not the hollow caricatures that history so desperately wants to make them out to be, but were organized, courageous, determined warriors for justice,” wrote King.
The boycott will begin in San Francisco, New York City and Standing Rock. King explained that the first two cities were included because their traditionally “progressive” reputations do not seem to prevent state violence against people of color. “San Francisco was not progressive for Alex Nieto, Jessica Williams or Mario Woods,” wrote King. ”New York City was not progressive for Eric Garner, Deborah Danner or Kalief Browder.”
King added that Standing Rock was a planned boycott center for months before the Native American water protectors’ monumental victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline yesterday. “After speaking last night with the local leaders from Standing Rock, we learned that while this decision is a powerful victory for local activists, it is not a permanent one,” he wrote, citing the possibility of corporate stakeholders overriding activists’ demands and President-elect Donald Trump ”stack[ing] the Army Corps of Engineers with his own people” before permitting further construction. The protests have already been met with violent action from local police.
The boycott calls for government leaders in the three target municipalities to substantively address local organizers’ demands by January 16. If those demands are not met, King and co-organizers plan to enact comprehensive tourism boycotts, bank divestment, targeteted corporate boycotts and “creatively disruptive protests” in each area.
Read the full boycott announcement and explanation here.