Local Businesses, University participate in ‘Blackout Tuesday’
Yesterday, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms were flooded with black squares in support of “Blackout Tuesday.”
The initiative started under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused with an intent to blackout the music industry, but later adapted the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday to form solidarity against racial injustice.
Local businesses and Nicholls State University participated in the event in their own unique ways.
Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse’s Thibodaux and Houma Facebook pages posted black squares along with quotes.
“The time is always right to do what is right. Dr. Martin Lurther King,” reads one. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” reads another quote by King that Big Mike’s shared.
Thibodaux’s Shoe Shi Boutique also joined the initiative, posting hearts in an array of colors on a solid black background.
“Praying for you & your family’s safety and for the future of our world. We are muted and listening,” reads its post. “‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.’-Mother Teresa.”
Steph Domingue, owner of Shoe Shi, said that although she is a white woman who doesn’t understand what other races are going through right now, she can empathize and do her part to positively change the community.
“The only thing that we can do are small things every day to change, taking the small steps to just be a better person and to do the little things that matter: really teaching young people the differences within your community and how to reach out to people and start a conversation with somebody that you might not have much in common with. Those small changes are what is going to change people around us.”
“[Blackout Tuesday] was just our small way of just saying, ‘Hey, even though we may be a small part of the community, we’re still here for you…in kindness, love and compassion and empathy,” she continued. “It’s just a small thing that we can do so other people’s voices can be heard…Business and retail are secondary to what’s going on.”
Praying for you & your family's safety and for the future of our world. We are muted and listening. •"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things." -Mother Teresa
Big Mike’s and Shoe Shi, in unison with businesses from across the country, didn’t post anything else the rest of the day. For Domingue, who uses social media platforms daily to display merchandise, the day of posting no business-related content could have affected her sales for the day. However, the initiative was more important for her.
“I guess the more important question would be, ‘Is generating sales really more important than what this day means for us as a community and a country? No it’s not,” she said, when asked if Blackout Tuesday slowed sales for the day. “So am I really worried about our sales being down for today? Not in the slightest.”
“Even if they are, that’s not at all something that I’m worried about,” Domingue continued. “Showing our community that we are ready to stand together in love and positivity is far more important than worrying about a few extra sales.”
Shoe Shi will also soon initiate the #ShareLoveShowLove campaign to help spread love and positivity throughout the community by doing small acts of kindness.
“Any way that you can reach out to your neighbor, someone that you don’t know or someone that you do know that’s in need — whether that’s like a helping hand, a meal, a kind word, a letter — share that love with them and then snap a picture and put it on your social media,” she explained.
“It’s just to kind of bring positivity and bring our community together,” she continued. “It’s such a small thing compared to what’s going on, but it could be a really big thing in the end.”
More details on #ShareLoveShowLove are forthcoming.
The Colonels participated in Blackout Tuesday as well, displaying “United we stand” above King’s quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” on the official Facebook page.
Misty McElroy, Nicholls State University social media manager, brought up the idea of doing a post, said Jerad David, Nicholls Director of Communications. “And we certainly think it’s absolutely appropriate for the university to do that,” he continued. “We want to support all of our constituents…We thought it appropriate to stand united with our black community and make that Blackout Tuesday post.”
Multiple Nicholls organizations supported event, too, and the Student Government Association and Student Programming Association released a joint statement the day before.
As a unified group of diversified students, the Nicholls State University Student Government Association is taking a…
President Dr. Jay Clune and Steven H. Kenney Jr., AVP for Human Resources/Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, also released a joint statement condemning all acts of racism, discrimination and hatred.
“We’ve taken it upon ourselves at Nicholls to start having these conversations. They’re difficult conversations, and in a lot of ways they can be uncomfortable for people. But they’re conversations that need to be had, and we realized that at Nicholls,” David said.
“It’s in our mission statement: the heartbeat of the Bayou Region. Our goal here and our mission is to educate the Bayou Region,” he added. “This is another aspect of education; this is education of society. We are happy that we can help bring society along.”
Today, the university announced it is submitting paperwork to gain the approval of changing the names of PGT Beauregard Hall and Leonidas K. Polk Hall.
“The steps that we are implementing now demonstrate our willingness to support our diverse populations on campus and in the community,” Clune wrote. “These steps also are measured in that they strategically reduce opportunities for undue negative attention to be cast upon our university at a time when growing enrollment and community support are crucial to our mission. These are mission-critical objectives of our university.”
Beauregard and Polk were both generals in the Confederate Army.
Blackout Tuesday marked just over one week since the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died following white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck — which video of the incident captured Chauvin doing for approximately 9 minutes.
“Just disbelief, shock and heartache,” Domingue shared on how she felt while watching the video. “It almost seemed like it couldn’t have been real.”
“The first word that pops into my mind is horror,” David said. “I understand that police have to do their job. But given the circumstance when literally someone’s life is being taken over, quite frankly, something so frivolous, it’s not something I can stand for.”
He continued: “Every human life is valuable, and to watch that man breathe his last breath — that’s a hard, hard pill to swallow.”