Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ohlone Land & Black Friday

Today was officially Buy Nothing Day in Emeryville on Shellmound at the Bay Street Mall. Most people either do not know, or have chosen to ignore the fact that the Ikea as well as the Bay Street Mall were built on Ohlone burial land. This is a disturbing fact because I couldn't imagine the burial site of my loved ones being trampled on my eager consumers wanting to fund the very companies that desecrated the land. If more people would take the time out to really consider this from another perspective, I don't think this area would be so busy with shoppers. I think that this would be a good place to mention that some of the protesting was successful because there were a couple cars that I saw merge out of the turning lane to enter the shopping center while honking their horns in support. Thinking back on this now, I am happy that some people were attracted and intrigued enough by the spectacle of people and what they were saying to make a conscious decision to not support this shopping center.

Although I have not attended any of the previous Buy Nothing protests that have been held since the opening of this shopping center, I was told by several people there that this was a larger turnout than usual. I think that is because this particular Buy Nothing Day was endorsed by both Occupy Oakland and Occupy SF. Seeing that the Occupy Movement supports this as well shows that this movement is about community and reaching out to all of those who have experienced oppression, including but not limited to our indigenous brothers and sisters. Furthermore, I tried to go back and find articles about the bodies that were being found as IKEA was being built and I have to pay to access them. For those of you who do not understand the "money does not equal speech" argument check this out. You have to have money to access information and/or to put information out. Pay to check out the article here

I know that there are people out there who are still cynics but realize how you can make your money work for you. Don't spend the money where the company is more concerned about profit over people. Mom and Pop stores hire people too, but they can only afford to hire so many people when they have to compete with large corporations that can afford to have lower prices. Naturally the lower prices attract shoppers, but at what cost really? What happens when those small business can no longer stay afloat? Even though every major mall is not built on a sacred burial ground, shopping at these establishments still hurt the community because it empowers them. Being a consumer nation, we can create a shift but we have to be a conscious people and hold our government, corporations and ourselves accountable.

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