Hunger Games Salute Used by Black Friday Protesters Fighting for Higher Wages
NEW YORK, NY – While millions of Americans were shopping on Black Friday, protesters across the country were using a symbol of resistance seen in the new Hunger Games movie to call attention to Walmart’s unfair “Hunger Games” wages. Members of the Harry Potter Alliance, a non-profit organization that uses popular culture to make social change, will continue to use the Hunger Games three-finger salute at additional rallies through December 4 targeting McDonald’s’ low pay.
At its core, The Hunger Games is about economic inequality. Protesters are hacking into The Hunger Games’ story of struggle and self-liberation to excite the imagination of fast food workers, other underpaid workers and their allies to recast themselves as heroes. The work also seeks to reach Hunger Games audiences who don’t have a union but who are on the front lines of economic struggle themselves.
“The issues brought to life by the Hunger Games – economic inequality and hunger – are realities for millions of Americans including those with full-time jobs at places like Walmart and McDonalds,” said Andrew Slack, President of the Harry Potter Alliance. “We’re hacking the Hunger Games, using a symbol of economic solidarity from the film to create solidarity between both fans activists and workers.”
On Friday, supporters shared images of their support on social media by using the #MyHungerGames hashtag and Walmart workers, along with union leaders (like American Federation of Teachers president and Our Walmart ally, Randi Weingarten), used the three finger salute at protests across the country. One group of protesters rewrote a protest song from Mockingjay Part One and sang it at the protest in Long Beach, CA. The actions were in partnership with the Our Walmart campaign, which seeks to raise wages. Supporters also shared a document with Walmart management outlining their objections to “Walmart’s Hunger Games” policies.
“The Black Friday protests get bigger every year with the addition of different groups and we were happy to partner with the vibrant young activists at the Harry Potter Alliance. Our work with fans of the Hunger Games has been extremely creative and very effective,” says Making Change at Walmart Director Dan Schlademan. “Workers throughout the country used the three finger salute and their children were excited to see them cast as heroes in the films they know and love.”
The momentum will continue this week as members of the Harry Potter Alliance hold similar solidarity actions with fast food workers and the Fight for 15 campaign, which aims to organize fast food workers for a $15/hour minimum wage and the right to form a union.
Fast food workers have spent weeks sharing their own #MyHungerGames stories. A collection of submissions can be seen at storify.com/TheHPAlliance/
The Harry Potter Alliance’s larger Odds in Our Favor campaign has generated widespread cultural activism against inequality and is inspired by the example of class struggle in the Hunger Games. The AFL-CIO drew parallels to the story and had union leaders across the country (including President Richard Trumka) joining thousands of fan activists (and Senator Elizabeth Warren) doing three-finger salutes. Recently, the movement was cited by Van Jones in an op-ed for CNN and Andrew Slack, president of Harry Potter Alliance, was interviewed by MTV. Follow the latest activities of the campaign through #myhungergames or at oddsinourfavor.org.
The Harry Potter Alliance (www.thehpalliance.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that takes an out-of-the-box approach to civic engagement. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible to young people through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of young people to become like the heroes they read about through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy.