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Boycott Campaign targets downtown businesses over GR Chamber of Commerce proposed ordinance to criminal the unhoused

January 6, 2023

In early December, when we began reporting on the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s proposed ordinance, which they sent in a letter to the City Commission on January 6th. You can read the proposed ordinance from the GR Chamber of Commerce here.

One week later, 120 business people, many of who are members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, sent another letter to the Grand Rapids City Commission, which they all signed. You can read that letter, with all 120 signatures at this link.

Shortly after the GR Chamber announced their proposed ordinance, the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union, along with a coalition of groups and individuals called for a boycott of all downtown businesses until the GR Chamber retracts their proposed ordinance and makes a public apology for proposing a policy that would criminalize the unhoused. On December 12, about 25 activists went to the GR Chamber’s downtown office to protest the ordinance proposal and to make their demands known. The GR Chamber of Commerce responded by calling the GRPD.

The following week activists went to make similar demands at Mel Trotter Ministries, which was one of the signatories to the letter that endorsed the GR Chamber’s ordinance proposal. At the same time, this group, working through the Grand Rapids Area Tenant union, created an electronic letter campaign, which as of today generated nearly 13,000 letters to Grand Rapids City officials and the GR Chamber of Commerce.

This boycott campaign also has created a toolkit of sorts, providing people with a list of downtown Grand Rapids business to boycott, along with the idea that people can go to reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, & Trip Advisor and tell others why we cannot in good conscience patronize them. All of this information is on the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union Facebook page.

Just yesterday, so people involved in the boycott made a short video, using caution tape, to demonstrate how the ordinance would criminal the unhoused and severely limit their ability to even have a presence in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Lastly, as with all boycott, in order for them to be effective, the campaign will need to grow and get more people involved in doing the necessary work to inform the public as well as to resist the repressive ordinance proposal from the GR Chamber of Commerce. If you want to be involved in the campaign, you can leave the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union a message on their Facebook page or you can send them an e-mail 

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