Operation Breadbasket: Urban Economic Justice Organizing during the Civil Rights Era: In 1962 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched Operation Breadbasket in Atlanta. According to King, ‘‘the fundamental premise of Breadbasket is a simple one. Negroes need not patronize a business which denies them jobs, or advancement [or] plain courtesy’’ (King, 11 July 1967). ‘‘Many retail businesses and consumer-goods industries,’’ King explained, ‘‘deplete the ghetto by selling to Negroes without returning to the community any of the proﬁts through fair hiring practices’’ (King, January 1967).
In his 1967 speech, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, Martin Luther King, Jr. said about the program: “And so Operation Breadbasket has a very simple program, but a powerful one. It simply says, “If you respect my dollar, you must respect my person.” It simply says that we will no longer spend our money where we can not get substantial jobs.”
Jesse Jackson, a young theological student in Chicago, was selected by King to run the national Operation Breadbasket efforts. This was the origin of his later Operation P.U.S.H.
Let’s be clear: the tragic events in Brooklyn today started as an act of intimate partner violence–violence against women. He first traveled from GA to Maryland–near Baltimore–where he shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend before taking his illness further up north.
In no way were this man’s actions about social justice or even “revenge” against murderous cops. As I’m sure the more sane reporting will reveal, this man has a history of erratic, violent, unbalanced behavior. And a history of violence against women.
This is not the time to be defensive about the call to end police brutality and state-sanctioned uniformed murder. This is the time to call for proper mental health systems and increased awareness of and vigilance against violence against women. This is not the first murder-suicide centered around an unbalanced man’s unwillingness to release his ex-girlfriend.
Compassion for the murdered police officers, compassion for the grievously-wounded ex-girlfriend, compassion for the mentally ill. And compassion for everyone who is working hard to stay focused on the groundswell of energy against police brutality even in the face of this singular, unrelated incident.