Demonstrations over police violence and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has spurred the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals to launch what they’re calling an economic protest.
“We have to understand that all lives will never truly matter until black lives matter just as equally,” says Nick Bankston, president of the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals.
Bankston says his group, which is affiliated with the Columbus Urban League, decided to ask its 400 members and other non-essential workers to call off from work on Monday, June 1.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for people’s voices to be heard,” Bankston says. "This is a call for non-essential workers to show in solidarity their support of the protests that we see all across the country."
The group is also encouraging people to stay home from work all week. Bankston says he does not know yet how many people will be participating.
He says their effort is one of many to come this presidential election year.
“We don’t want folks just to vote,” Bankston says. “We want them to be informed voters and we want to make sure that they continue to vote and understand the power that they have in their vote.”
Bankston says it’s not just up to minorities to seek a better justice system.
“I think it’s about utilizing your voice and if that is injustices you see in your workplace, in your homes, wherever you may be," he says. "It really starts with taking action, and that action is to call it out when we see it. We all have a role to play.”
Bankston says while the racial disparities and injustices remain in this country, the wide-spread protests give him hope for change.
“The difference too is that there are a lot more allies on the front line,” Bankston says. “We’ve seen our white brothers and sisters, Asian, Latino, all standing in solidarity because they understand that what they saw was wrong, and if those people can’t get justice, do I truly have justice.”