A group of anonymous Black Lives Matter protesters temporarily took over the Union Square Forever 21 on Sunday, replacing mannequins’ threads with Black Lives Matter sweatshirts and placing a Black Lives Matter banner across a window. The anonymous collective, who goes by the Never 21 Project, wasn’t protesting Forever 21. Rather, they pulled the stunt to raise awareness for black children who have been the victims of police brutality and violence, like Michael Brown (18), Trayvon Martin (17) and Tamir Rice (12).
“They were up for about 20-30 minutes,” a member of Never 21 told ANIMAL via email. “It was so busy in the store that the employees didn’t really notice us. I think what gave it away is the fact that passerby actually thought that Forever 21 was selling these shirts.”
Never 21 released the following statement:
A multi-racial group of activists came together for the same purpose: to reiterate the importance of Black lives. The phrase #Never21 serves as a reminder of all of the young black lives that have been lost to law enforcement officials and self proclaimed ‘vigilantes’. These youth were never given the chance to see age 21, or any age there after, so we respond by reminding the public of the battle that we are still actively fighting. We care about the lives of Black men. We care about the lives of Black women. We care about the lives of Black CHILDREN.
This was not an attack on Forever 21. In actuality, it is an opportunity for the popular retail conglomerate to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Whether they choose to support our message or be against it, this will not stop us from making sure that these voices continue to be heard.
The store’s manager declined to comment on the incident.
This post has been update with responses from Never 21.
(Photos: Keegan Stephan)