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Mall Protesters Hope to "Take Back Thanksgiving"

PHOTO: First came Black Friday, then came midnight deals, but a group of Michiganders says it draws the line when it comes to stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Photo credit: A. Zirkel
PHOTO: First came Black Friday, then came midnight deals, but a group of Michiganders says it draws the line when it comes to stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Photo credit: A. Zirkel
November 13, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Two weeks from today, instead of enjoying a day off, a growing number of Michiganders will head to work in businesses that no longer close for Thanksgiving.

That has one group fighting to Take Back Thanksgiving.

Rev. Joseph Summers, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Ann Arbor, is among those planning to protest outside Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall, which recently announced it will open even earlier this Thanksgiving Day.

"I don't think people are realizing now what a toll it's taking on community life, religious life, family life, for people to no longer be able to count on having time together," he says.

In a statement, the mall's management says it is simply giving shoppers what they want, and refers to Thanksgiving as the mall’s Super Bowl.

The rally takes place at 4:30 p.m. today, with similar protests planned for other Michigan malls and businesses.

Summers stresses he isn't anti-business, and he recognizes that there are many essential community workers – such as doctors, nurses and police officers – who do not get the day off. But he says that's very different from a retail business choosing to eliminate a holiday.

"I think it's time for our country and our business community to wake up to how important it is to honor traditions like Thanksgiving, for the sake of the well-being of our country and our working people," he says.

Summers adds those who can't attend the rally can still send a message by simply not shopping on Thanksgiving.

Organizers of the rally have also sent a letter to all Michigan legislators, asking for a Thanksgiving Preservation Bill that would forbid stores from opening on the holiday.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI