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Letter: Why we should protest Amazon

In his Oct. 11 column, Andrew Reed ’21 writes, “But there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of companies whose products serve a critical role in the mission of ICE.”

In 1960, why did civil rights activists protest Woolworth, the department store chain with racial segregation policies? Weren’t African-Americans unwelcome at most lunch counters? Well, partly, because targeting a company everyone knows leads to more media coverage. Would the protesters at CareerLAB have created as big of a story if it weren’t involving Amazon?

He writes, “But there hardly seems to be any meaningful difference between Amazon and an office supplier who provides ICE with a product that is perhaps less cinematic, but no less essential to their function.”

Following Reed’s reasoning, should we boycott the IHOP where the top officers get their senior discount breakfast? Food is essential to work because you have to live to work. Should we boycott the woman who gave birth to the guy who started the company that sells ICE their paper? That’s Reed’s ad absurdum argument again. Does he really think we want to boycott that woman?

He writes “… if you don’t like ICE, protest them.”

We do. We protest Amazon in addition to protesting ICE.

He writes, “You’re either with us, or you’re with them. Under this standard, being with them is not just a matter of disagreement — it’s indicative of a deep moral failure.”

Separating children from their families and putting them in cages is the greatest crime perpetrated on U.S. soil in my lifetime. Yes, it’s a moral failing to do nothing about that. In 1972, theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Some are guilty, all are responsible.” This is merely one in a series of arguments that can be called “do nothing at all.”

To absolve one’s guilty conscience of complicity is to wash their hands of any responsibility. I wait anxiously each day for a fresh article telling me why this or that particular tactic is wrong, and I’m rarely disappointed. If I were to wait for an effective way of ending the heinous and barbaric crimes committed by ICE, I would grow old. Until there is one, we will keep targeting the most famous of the companies that are complicit in ICE’s work. It has worked before.

Rafael Pizarro


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