Boycott Macy's Tour Hits Long Island Hard
from No Compromise Issue 17
 

Garden City, NY - On June 11, 2000, dozens of activists gathered at the entrance of the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island to protest Macy's East's continued sale of fur. This demonstration marked the fourth New York protest of the Fur Free Macy's Tour, which made fourteen stops at Macy's East stores along the East Coast.

The Fur Free Macy's tour was organized by several groups including The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT), The Animal Defense League (ADL), In Defense of Animals (IDA), and Last Chance for Animals (LCA). Its purpose was to escalate the grassroots campaign against Macy's East, a division of Federated Department Stores, the largest retailer of fur in the United States. In 1996, on the heels of mass protests and consumer boycotts, Macy's West (another division of Federated) closed all of their fur salons, then removed all high-end fur trim items from their stores in 1998.

The tour lasted from Memorial Day to Labor Day, beginning and ending at Macy 's East's flagship store at Herald Square in New York City. The tour generated large amounts of positive media along the way, which educated the public on Macy's participation in the cruel fur trade. The website offering information on Macy's role in the fur industry www.boycottmacys.com was promoted heavily during the tour and received thousands of visitors. Those who visited the site learned about the campaign and how they could help. Hundreds sent emails directly to Harold Kahn, the CEO of Macy's East, via an automatic e-mailer on the website.

At the June 11th demonstration, hosted by the Long Island chapter of the ADL, protesters held signs and banners at the main entrance to the Roosevelt Field Mall. Several other activistss erected a 20-foot tripod at a major intersection of another mall entrance closer to Macy's. Once assembled, activist Jon Lefkowitz climbed to the top of the structure, unfurling a large banner that read, "Boycott Macy's, Fur Is Murder, www.boycottmacys.com." The police arrived and immediately attempted to take down the tripod, with Jon still at the top. Ignoring all concern for his safety they collapsed the tripod, causing him to fall 20 feet to the ground below. Although the entire event was caught on videotape by an activist who was watching nearby, a police officer noticed the activist filming, took the camera from him, and physically destroyed the tape. As the protest continued, conflict between police and activists intensified and five more protesters were arrested on charges related to disorderly conduct.

Just four weeks later, in the early hours of July 9th, the Long Island ADL received a communiqué from the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), reporting a visit to another Macy's store, only a few miles from the location targeted by protesters on June 11th. That night the ALF broke more than twenty of the store's large plate glass windows and doors, and spray-painted slogans such as, "Fur is Murder" and "Boycott federated" on the walls of the Garden City store. The communiqué reported, "Our intention was not to hurt anyone. The ALF has declared an open-ended war on all animal abusers. We will not let up until all life is free. Abusers beware."

Macy's stores on Long Island are feeling the heat of both above- and below-ground activists, with both promising that there is only more to come.