Protests denouncing police brutality against unarmed Black men and women are continuing across the country following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin this past Sunday. The latest in a seemingly endless list of these senseless murders has resulted in a variety of powerful demonstrations, such as NBA players refusing to play playoff games and Black Nike employees leaving work for the rest of the week. That sentiment is also being felt in sneaker retail.
Tonight, several prominent sneaker boutiques announced that they'll be closing their doors through this weekend, using the time to honor the victims of police brutality and encourage actionable change such as registering to vote. The movement appears to have been organized by James Whitner, a Black entrepreneur who owns Social Status, A Ma Maniére, APB, and Prosper. Each of Whitner's Whitaker Grp platforms took to social media to announce closings with graphics and videos in black and white that communicate the mission.
Ronnie Fieg's KITH, another one of the boutiques involved in the protest, announced that it will turn its New York, Los Angeles and Miami locations into hubs for voter registration.
Other shops involved include Bodega in Boston/LA, Creme in Philadelphia, Oneness in Kentucky, Unknwn in Miami and RSVP Gallery in Chicago/LA.
Whitner, who was a guest on the Complex Sneakers Podcast shortly after the murder of George Floyd, has been outspoken about using his platform as a Black business owner to encourage systemic change.
"I'm always ready for action," said Whitner on the podcast, "I'm a long-term thinker who's thinking strategically and always thinking about next."
You can register to vote or request and absentee ballot here.