A Black Lives Matter holiday boycott ended Jan. 3, following a recent uptick in protests.
Black Lives Matter, a political project seeking to revive the black liberation movement, declared Dec. 23 Black Xmas in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In Los Angeles, protesters blocked the southbound 405 freeway, and in San Francisco, they blocked CA-101, delaying access to LAX and SFO airports, according to Black Lives Matter posts on social media.
“Instead of buying gifts to fuel this system, Black Xmas is a day of action to reject the degradation of Black families and communities by police, politicians, and predatory companies, and declare our inherent worth,” BLM said in a statement. “We will disrupt business as usual until city, state, and federal budgets stop funding Black death and start funding Black futures.”
A few days later, a grand jury decided Dec. 28 not to indict the two police officers responsible for the death of Tamir Rice last year in Cleveland, Ohio.
The officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, shot the 12-year-old within one second after they received a call about a black man brandishing a gun, which turned out to be fake.
Tamir was in 7th grade.
“Hearing that the government is allowed to steal your son’s life . . . is a physically devastating thing, an incapacitating thing to go through,” Billy Joe Mills, one of the Rice family’s lawyers said.
Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, has been in tears since the verdict.
“Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers’ defense attorney,” Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, said in a statement Dec. 28.
The Rice family called the trial a “charade.”
“Now that the criminal portion of this incident has concluded, the city will begin an administrative review to determine if policies and procedures were violated,” Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a statement following the jury’s announcement.
The mayor vowed the city would remain transparent and honest in its review.
“The number one goal for the Rice family has been criminal accountability,” Mills said. To that end, Mills, the Rice family and three other lawyers on the team are pursuing a civil rights case against the city of Cleveland.
When asked if there would be an upsurge in political activism in the Los Angeles County area in light of the Cleveland decision, a Black Lives Matter spokesperson said, “Stay tuned.”