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Shutdowns and start-ups: Activists say time to close disrespectful businesses

By Jihad Hassan Muhammad | Last updated: Jan 6, 2012 - 10:13:06 AM

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New Dallas movement: Time to close disrespectful businesses and create Do for Self opportunity in Black neighborhoods

Juanita Wallace, President of Dallas NAACP, directly behind her is Nation of Islam Student Minister Jeffery Muhammad, with Rev. Ronald Wright and community leaders at press conference across from gas station. Leaders called for shutting down businesses disrespectful to Blacks and opening Black-owned establishments in their place.
DALLAS ( - There is a movement brewing here to close businesses that disrespect, mistreat and price gouge the Black community as organizers use equal energy to pool resources and launch new businesses under an effort called “Stop Don’t Shop.”

The spark that ignited the effort and spawned a united front among religious, community and political leaders was an early December incident involving Jeffery Muhammad, the Dallas representative of the Nation of Islam. The student minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 48 said he was told “go back to Africa,” called a “monkey,” “slave,” and a “broke a-- n----r by an Asian gas store owner, following a confrontation that began with questions about minimum purchase requirements imposed by the station owner.

Noting the gas station’s prices were about 30 cent higher per gallon than stations outside the Black community, Mr. Muhammad wanted to make a small purchase. Questioning the owner ignited a confrontation that included insults and threats, Mr. Muhammad said.

Within days came a tidal wave of support and community mobilization angered by the actions of operators of the Diamond Shamrock gas station in South Dallas. The NAACP, city officials, Christian clergy, Pan Africanists, community leaders, and ordinary people gathered for a Dec. 21 press conference near the station.

“We will not stop until they are shut down; we are here for as long as it takes,” vowed Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas NAACP. “It was a godsend that this happened to Minister Muhammad; we will unite to shut these businesses down that disrespect us.”

Andre Carpenter says he was beaten by Asian gas station owner. Photos: Tim X Daniels
Rev. Ronald Wright, Rev. Glover, and Rev. Peter Johnson, who was the youngest member of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s original staff, stood with Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn Davis in supporting the press conference and station boycott.

“I am hoping that no one, from any walk of life, will not support this store for what has happened to the minister and their disrespect to the community,” said Councilwoman Davis.

As news of the press conference spread, the station’s gas price quickly dropped from $3.29 a gallon the day before, to $3.19 a gallon when the media began to show up at the establishment.

The press conference held in front of the gas station was the launching pad for a movement to shut down that business and all businesses guilty of economic injustice, disrespect and even criminal practices in South Dallas, said community leaders.

While at the gas pump where this all began, and viewing the credit/debit card slot with makeshift tape, and a handwritten sign, Ken Kalthoff, a NBC 5 news anchorman covering the press conference, commented, “You all have grounds to move forward with your boycott, this is not a good business practice.”

The station owner imposed a minimum $10 purchase with debit cards and told customers to either pay $10 for gas or withdraw cash from an ATM, with an attendant fee, to purchase less, said Mr. Muhammad.

“If you want to get 30 cents worth of gas out there or in here with your debit card, you can do that,” said Matty Uni, a 7-Eleven gas station attendant in an uptown section of Dallas. Ten other gas stations questioned said they do not have minimum purchase amounts for debit cards, with funds coming from customer checking accounts.

The press conference brought out more complaints against the gas station, with charges Black customers are regularly disrespected and beaten.

“I have seen them throw water on young girls, and take out sticks to beat people with it, they are very disrespectful to anybody that walks in there,” said Fred Murphy, an area resident.

Many in the neighborhood said in 2010 a Black man was shot and killed as he retreated from the store.

Two days after the press conference, Arthur Carpenter said he entered the store, was disrespected, then beaten unconscious by the store owner, suffering a concussion and brain injury.

“We will not tolerate any mistreatment or disrespect of the Black man, woman or child, and will stand to shut anyone down who does,” said Supreme 7 Allah of the Nation of Gods and Earths.

Stop Don’t Shop’s ultimate effort, supported by community, political, religious and business leaders, is to form an economic development fund to start up and buy businesses, promote enterprise, and acquire real estate.

Since Stop Don’t Shop began, Diamond Shamrock’s gas prices have fallen further to $3.09 a gallon, as the customer boycott has curbed business and left Asian owners asking city officials to set up a meeting with Mr. Muhammad to reach a compromise. He isn’t interested, saying only a shutdown of the business will do.

“We want an end to the mistreating, and price gouging in our community. We want an end to them imposing minimum purchase requirements on debit cards in our own community. We are saying to our people, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has instructed us to do, that we need to pool our resources and open up businesses in our own community. We must own where we live,” declared Mr. Muhammad.

Related news:

The Key to Success: Do For Self (Minister Louis Farrakhan/FCN, 04-10-2008)

Black buying power in America nears $1.1 trillion (FCN, 10-11-2011)

Lessons in doing for self (FCN, 07-01-2011)

Hard Work or Hardly Working? How White People Got So Rich (FCN, 06-13-2011)