ABOVE PHOTO: Genie Lauren
By Terrell Jermaine Starr
The woman behind the Twitter and Change.org campaigns that put Juror B37’s book deal to a screeching halt is New York-bred Genie Lauren.
Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds went ablaze with outrage last night as the unidentified juror expressed support for George Zimmerman during her interview with CNN. Lauren was also angry and upset while watching the prime-time interview — but decided that her emotions would be better vested in organizing people on social media.
“I was angry and I didn’t think it was right that someone would make money off of this tragedy–especially after they let Zimmerman go free,” Lauren told NewsOne. “I didn’t think that was right at all.”
It didn’t take Lauren long to realize that many others didn’t feel it was right, either. Right after watching the CNN interview, Lauren, who says she had around 1,600 followers before organizing the book boycott, sent out a tweet asking people to help her find the publisher. The feedback was immediate, something that emboldened her to push even harder.
“For the first time, it felt like I wasn’t powerless,” she said.
Using Google as her guide, Lauren quickly found the literary agency that was backing Juror B37’s deal; soon after, she got the name of the agent, Sharlene Martin, and published the information.
PHOTO: The statement from Juror B37 cancelling her book deal.
After getting a Twitter movement going, Lauren, 29, created a Change.org campaign, “Sharlene Martin: Drop Juror B37 from Martin Literary Management,” which so far has 1,346 signatures. Martin’s e-mail was included in the petition; the agent reached out to Lauren an hour later via Change.org.
Then, via @sharlenemartin, Juror B37 released a statement:
“I was shocked because I didn’t think the response from other Tweeters would happen so quickly,” Lauren said. “I thought that even if we got 1,000 signatures that I would hear something like, ‘Sorry you feel this way but we’re stilling going ahead with this book.’ I really didn’t expect for this to happen like this so quickly.”
She added, “I knew I was hurting and I needed this, but I didn’t realize how much everybody else was hurting too.”
The Bronx, N.Y.-bred sistah, who would only say she works in “higher education,” has picked up several thousand followers since last night, putting her Twitter follower count at 5,651 — and counting. Lauren says that she has always been vocal on Twitter regarding injustice issues, but stops short of calling herself an activist.
“Do I want to be an activist? I don’t know,” she said. “That’s not what I had planned for my life but this is definitely something that I am passionate about and something I feel like I can do to affect change.”
Lauren’s Twitter grind is a prime example of modern-day economic boycotting. Indeed, the ancestors would be very proud. Please go to her Twitter handle @MoreAndAgain and write, “Thank you.”