Last week, former Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington called for African-Americans across the country to stay home.
The actor wanted every black person in America to remain home from, “every single job, work site, sports arena and government office in the United States of America” this past Monday, September 26, the day of the first presidential debate.
What would this accomplish? The actor hoped the boycott would hit America where it hurts: its wallet. But even more importantly, it would be a form of protest that would keep black people safe, according to the 53-year-old actor.
“Protesting is only getting people killed,” Washington told theGrio.com. “And [protesting is] putting people in the situation where they have to put money back into the very city where they’re arrested by posting bail […] You’re going to protest for your rights, and then you’re going to get arrested, and then you’re going to put money in the very system that is protecting your rights? That’s insanity. That’s tyranny.”
The ‘stay-at-home’ protest is part of the #Missing24 movement, which was started by Madelon “Blue” McCullough, a black mother who was fed up about the recent killings of unarmed black men. After an exchange with Isaiah Washington, who also was fed up, they decided to call on African-Americans around the country to change their way of thinking.
“What else can we do beside protest?” McCullough asked herself after the fatal shooting of Philando Castile. “We’re out there protesting and marching and it’s no longer effective. It’s still happening, and it’s getting worse. Maybe we can take an old method and tweak it to make it safe for us. And that’s when we came up with the boycott for us to stay home. No one gets killed, no one gets injured, no one gets incarcerated.”
While some supported Washington’s call to action on Monday, others expressed how it was unrealistic for the actor to expect black folks to stay home from work, especially those who rely on their paychecks to feed their families.
Washington tells theGrio.com he wishes people would consider the bigger picture.
“People need to wake up,” Washington said. “I understand if you can’t afford to do it, but your comments fall on deaf ears. They make no sense. But [to the] people commenting about whether or not they can afford to do it, can you afford to be safe in America? Where are your priorities? If you lose your life, you lose your job and your family is now at risk. Because you’re not willing to boycott and make a stand?”
It’s unknown how many actually participated in the protest, but some people took to Twitter using the hashtags #StayAtHomeSeptember262016 and #Missing24 to show their support and also confusion for Washington’s protest.
Washington is satisfied with the result of the campaign even if people decided to still show up for work and school.
“The impact was tremendous and it’s growing every second of the day,” he said. “Whether the boycott is successful in terms of draining people of money? No, but that’s coming.”
Isaiah Washington and the #Missing24 team have planned future protests scheduled for November 7 and December 5 of this year.