By Roger Caldwell
Corporate America is taking a stand for voter’s rights, and many citizens are surprised and shocked by this decision. American companies understand to continue to be profitable; they must make good social choices that uplift diverse communities. Their decisions must not discriminate or offend communities in any way.
Boycotting any major corporation for 3 to 7 days can decide if a company has a profitable month, or force the stock members to devastate their investments. Many in the news media were surprised that the Republicans in Georgia would be allowed to pass laws which were discriminatory and suppress the right to vote for people of color.
“On March 29, 2021, the critics of Georgia’s new Republican backed election law issued fresh calls to boycott some of the state’s largest businesses for not speaking out more forcefully against the law, a day after advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court challenged it. In a letter to more than 90,000 parishioners, Bishop Reginald Jackson, who presided over more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches issued the call,” says Ben Nadler – reporter of Associated Press.
It was obvious that the Black parishioners were serious about their position, and the large corporate leadership understands that the wrong decision could cause them to lose millions of dollars. Black organizations are starting to understand their economic and political power, which was displayed in the runoff election in Georgia.
Jackson is calling for large Georgia corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines to speak out against these laws. “If we cannot persuade them or if they refuse to oppose this legislation then we will organize and implement a boycott of their companies,” the letter says.
This letter from Bishop Jackson sparked a fire with 70 Black CEO’s and Executives, who signed an open letter calling on companies to speak out against dozens of voter suppression bills like the one passed in Georgia in the New York Times starting the week of March 29th. This was published as a full-page ad, and the business leaders wrote, “When it comes to protecting the rights of all Americans to vote, there can be no middle ground.”
On Wednesday March 31th, Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines decided to alter their position on the egregious legislation which prohibits the handing out of water or food to people waiting in line to vote.
The CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, issued a memo sharply criticizing the voting laws recently signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, marking a noticeable difference from an earlier statement issued by the Atlanta based company, which critics said did not go far enough in calling out the new election law, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
On CNBC’s Power Lunch, on Wednesday Coca-Cola’s Chairman and CEO James Quincy also moved to emphasize his brand opposition to Georgia new laws. Maybe it was a coincident that both major companies were starting to see the light, and maybe they were protecting their bottom line.
On Friday of the same week, nearly 200 companies signed a statement expressing concern at moves to restrict voting rights in Republican-run states. This is a significant decision, because diversity and inclusion is changing the way all Americans are seeing the world. It does not matter your race or your political persuasion, everyone must be treated with respect and justice.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred decided that the best way to demonstrate the values as a sport is by relocating the All-Star Game to another state. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” says Commissioner Rob Manfred.
There is a new day in America, with a new president, and progressive thinking in the country. Discrimination and mistreating people because of the color of their skin will no longer be tolerated, because it is wrong. Change will not be easy, but working together to achieve voting rights in America is a lofty goal for the country’s citizens.