Standing Up to Black Friday

If you know me at all, you know how obsessed I have become with the story of Jdmityai Damour, the Walmart employee who was tramped to death on Black Friday in 2008.

For those who don’t know, a brief refresher. And then, a word about this year…ie, what’s happening, what I’m consider, for this Black Friday 2012.

For a little refresher, here’s the first blog I wrote about Damour’s death in 2010. This will catch you up to speed.

Here’s another from last year.

Finally, here’s a blog about the disgusting lengths Walmart took to avoid paying a paltry $7000 fine in the matter.

But maybe you don’t celebrate “Black Friday,” and don’t truly believe how insane it all gets.

If you don’t believe that things are ridiculous and crazy on Black Friday, check out these actual videos from last year, some from stores in our area.

Jdmityai has made it into sermons of mine for the past several years. His story would not let me go. Eventually, I found myself having to write a song. Hear it here.

So, for several years, I’ve grieved Jdmityai. But this year, I’m feeling the pull/call to do more.

This year, there are two counter-movements growing:

1) Avoid Walmart and other Big Boxes by shopping local on Black Friday.
2) Support Walmart workers in their efforts to make a living wage.

Let me say more about both…

Avoid Walmart/Shop Local
I’m really pleased that Lance Price has invited me to play a set of my music at CD Source on Friday.

For the past several years, Lance has stood against Black Friday by sponsoring “Record Store Day.” It’s a chance to support a great local small business, and hear some real live music from real-live local songwriters.

Here are the details.

So, one way to do something positive is: Avoid Walmart. Shop local.

Come join us on “Record Day” this Friday!
I’ll be there at 7 pm. But they will have live music all day.

Another way is….

Support Walmart Workers
If you haven’t heard of “Our Walmart,” it’s a new group of Walmart employees who are organizing strikes/protests around the nation on Black Friday. Here’s their website. This is mainly a site for Walmart employees themselves.

But it has a link to this powerful video, showing why they are standing up:

If you make $15,000 at Walmart, you are considered “fulltime.” Some of the other reason very good reason are listed in this video, and it’s time for folks to stand up.

There is a protest planned for here in the Dallas-area on Black Friday. I may not be back in town at 7 am that day. But if it’s still going on later in the day, I will definitely go by.

Here are the details.

In the past few years, some have “critiqued the critique” of Walmart/Black Friday, suggesting that the only folks who are against it are those wealthy enough to just stay home. Last year, I tried to answer that criticism here.

This year, there’s an even stronger reason: Because these workers are standing up. Because they are standing up, we should stand up with them.

So, I’m hoping to get more involved myself.

If you’re wondering why I am interested in all this, it’s because my faith calls me to it. Here’s what my United Methodist Church says about the Rights of Workers:

“Since 1908, the church has advocated for a living wage in every industry (1908 Social Creed) and continues to support the rights of workers to share fully in the prosperity of society. Unfortunately, too many workers earn poverty wages with few benefits, and disparities are growing between high wage earners and low-wage earners. Despite rising productivity and profits in recent years, these gains have not been shared by a majority of workers.”

You can read the entire statement here. God call us to stand with workers, seeking a better life.

Again, here’s the link about the local protest on Friday. If I am in town while it’s still going on, I will be there.

One way or another, I hope you will join me in not only opposing Black Friday, but by doing something positive as well.

 (As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…)  

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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