After giving thanks for all that is good about our lives and our country, let us declare the next day an Alternative Black Friday. Instead of just getting good deals for ourselves at the mall, let's commit to giving a better deal for Americans who have suffered from racial and economic oppression in all forms.
On Black Friday, and every day after, let us commit to:
1. VOTE. What happened in Ferguson is partly a consequence of the public's demoralization from participating in democracy. Only 36 percent of eligible voters showed up for the Nov 4 elections, and the result was not good news for those who hope for greater social, economic, and racial justice in America. So let's get votivated again! Let's wake up and commit ourselves to vote next time for politicians who will change the system in positive ways.
2. STOP GLORIFYING GUNS. What happened in Ferguson is partly the result of police being afraid of confronting civilians who may out-gun them. This leads police forces to militarize and cops to be more likely to use their weapons. The surest way to be safe is to know and love our neighbors, not to carry assault weapons. Let's stand up to the gun lobby and demand that our politicians pass reasonable gun control laws.
3. BECOME AWARE OF THE REALITY OF RACISM IN SOCIETY AND WITHIN OURSELVES. Despite all the progress our country has made in ending blatant racial discrimination, racism lives on in our hearts and minds, often subtly affecting our perceptions of ourselves and each other in very harmful ways. We can't just point the finger at others: we have to look within to get to the heart of the problem. Let's own America's racism problem personally and collectively, through self-examination and conversation.
4. SUPPORT STRONG CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF POLICE. Far too many police departments lack robust oversight by civilian authority. Each jurisdiction should have a strong civilian-controlled police commission with "teeth". Serious policies should be in place to ensure that the police force has appropriate racial and cultural diversity. Serious "community policing" policies should exist in all jurisdictions in order to build better police-community relations.
5. MAKE FRIENDS WITH POLICE. Go on a ride-along with your local police. Invite police to community events, churches, temples, and groups. Get to know them, learn their concerns, and share yours with them. Show them respect and invite them to show respect to the communities they serve.