FedEx Boycott Called By Activists For Shunning Malcolm X Honor In Harlem
For the past twenty two years, the December 12th Movement has led an annual Black Power march and rally along Harlem's 125th Street corridor on May 19, the birthday of Malcolm X.
Organizers request all businesses to participate by closing from 1pm to 4pm as a show of respect for Malcolm X and their patrons in the Harlem community. This year FedEx was the lone hold out.
FedEx store manager, Shatocka Rose decided to remain open. “She refused to honor the business shut down," Omowale Clay, of the December 12th Movement, says. "First she tried to raise that FedEx was a corporate store and therefore was not obligated to close. In the face of the fact that Red Lobster, Staples, DSW, Applebee's, Marshalls, Party City, to name a few, are all corporate stores and closed. The manager then became hostile and threatening to the people who tried in vain to reason with her.”
“The people of Harlem, who loved Malcolm X have now joined together to call for a boycott of the FedEx store to demonstrate that we cannot allow businesses in our community to disrespect the cultural and political will of the community as we honor one of Black Peoples' greatest heroes,” he ssays.
In the weeks leading up to May 19, organizers visited every business. “We talked to the managers of all the stores including FedEx at least three times. They all got letters hand delivered to them. Each time they all l said they would participate in the annual Malcolm X birthday commemoration and close from 1pm to 4pm,” Kamau Brown, an organizer notes.
Shatocka Rose was unavailable to comment for this report.
Ms. Rose instructed Ariel, a store team member to forward all phone calls on the matter to their corporate media relations office in Texas. When asked for the contact information for the FedEx District Manager in New York, Ariel refused.
When I asked Ariel if she knew that FedEx was the only store open on 125th Street, she adamantly stated “For 20 years we have never closed.”
Mr. Brown says: “Every store that does not participate in honoring Malcolm X is known by the community. It is disrespectful. We let everybody know about it and encourage them to boycott. We have not had to do it with FedEx until now.”
I was able to get FedEx District Manager of New York, Allen Kim's phone number from the Astor Place store manager. Media relations and Mr. Kim dodn't returned my calls by publishing deadline.
El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X, organized, worked, taught, and died in Harlem.
The history and legacy of Malcolm X remains in the hearts and minds of Black people in the United States. The Black Power march and rally draws people from all over.
National Black United Front leader, Kofi Taharka from Houston, Texas and Friends & Family Mumia Abu Jamal leader, Pam Africa from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania vowed to take the boycott to their states.
“As a community we know all to well that every other community advances the will of that community to honor their respective cultural values and politics," Omowale Clay adds. "We see that reflected in the celebrations that we honor or respect that most often have nothing to do with our plight in America. We therefore, call on our community and freedom loving people to remember the words of Fredrick Douglas, who instructed us that 'Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will', and Brother Malcolm who told us 'No Comprise, No Sell-Out.'"
May 19th would have been Malcolm X's 89th birthday.