Color of Change, which claims to be the largest online racial justice group in the United States, has launched a limited-edition tote bag line paying homage to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) — the controversial congresswoman who earlier this summer instructed allies to harass members of the Trump administration.
The organization’s “Be Like Maxine” campaign is built around a rallying cry that “civility won’t save us.” Color of Change recently began selling the merchandise on its Facebook shop, encouraging Americans to model their political discourse after the 14-term House member who has referred to President Donald J. Trump as “Putin’s apprentice.”
For $30, Waters’ enthusiasts can purchase a tote bag that features an illustrated cartoon-like image of their progressive heroine. A more subdued design emphasizes the #BeLikeMaxine hashtag. Both options include the Color of Change logo. T-shirts are also available for $20.
“We need to be more like Maxine and show up for those most directly impacted by this current administration,” said Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors in a video suggesting viewers should behave more like Waters does.
“Civility won’t save us because this administration and white supremacy doesn’t care about being polite,” said Alicia Garza, another Black Lives Matter co-founder.
Earlier this summer, Waters encouraged people who oppose President Trump to confront and intimidate his staffers when they spot them in public places.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out there and create a crowd,” Waters told attendees at a June rally in Los Angeles. “You tell them they aren’t welcome anymore, anywhere.”
The criticism from top Democrats prompted Color of Change activist Shaun King and several other California-based leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement to come to her defense, launching the "Be Like Maxine" drive.
“Stand up to the Dems and the GOP and let them know there’s no more business as usual,” Garza said. “It’s time for us to fight back.”
That same alliance, which has been organizing to elect reform-minded district attorneys throughout the country, recently targeted a California prosecutor who made crude and profane remarks about Rep. Waters. They led an effort calling for the deputy district attorney to be fired. He was placed on administrative leave and could lose his job, pending an investigation.
Waters, affectionately called Auntie Maxine by many progressives, represents California’s 43rd Congressional District, which includes a large section of South Central Los Angeles, Watts, and Inglewood. She received more than 70% of the vote in 2016 and is up for re-election in November.
Color of Change was co-founded in 2005 by Van Jones, who would go on to serve as an advisor to the Obama administration until he was forced to resign after glimpses of his radical past were revealed. The organization describes itself as “a national online force driven by over one million members.” It has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from billionaire philanthropist George Soros in recent years. Much of that funding has been spent designing integrated strategies that force “corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.”
The group mobilizes people and communities both locally and nationally. Its website takes credit for several progressive digital organizing actions, including pressuring Glenn Beck to leave FOX News; driving the FOX broadcast network to cancel the reality show “COPS," and urging elected officials to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s State House.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @Near_Chaos.