Leaders in the Black church are calling for a large scale boycott of several Georgia-based corporations in the wake of the state’s controversial voter law.
Religious leaders have set forth four demands for the CEO’s of Coca-Cola, Delta and Home Depot, urging them to complete the actions by Wednesday, April 7, or face a boycott.
“If they commit and if they act (we won’t boycott),” said one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, Bishop Reginald Jackson told WSB-TV. “Let me say it again — commit and act. Faith without works is dead.” Jackson presides over the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church.
Jackson is leading the charge, along with other faith leaders including Jamaal Bryant and Bernice King, daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Black church has always served as home base in the civil rights movement, where many of the most impactful leaders were born and raised within. Now they are setting their sights on formative action and change in Georgia.
Jackson and supporters of the boycott held a press conference in front of Coca-Cola’s headquarters on Thursday where they made their demands known.
“We cannot and will not support the companies that do not support us in our struggle to cast our ballots and exercise our freedom,” said Jackson. He shared that he plans to speak further with James Quincey, the CEO of Coca-Cola, next week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Last week the Georgia legislature passed SB 202, a bill which at its core, seeks to disenfranchise and suppress the Black vote. It includes, but is not limited to, changes in absentee voting, more restrictions around ID’s and generous allowances for election officials. Republicans who backed the bill argue that the measure will help prevent voter fraud, a baseless claim touted by Trump leading up to and during the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
The CEO’s of Delta and Coca-Cola came out in opposition to the legislation, after Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, initially made comments that seemed to back the bill.
But there are those who want to implement other forms of action. Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who played a monumental role in turning the state from red to blue in the presidential election and two runoff elections in January, feels that there is another course of action that could take place.
In an op-ed for USA Today, Abrams writes that she understands the “impassioned” response to boycott, but instead suggests that it may be more beneficial for Georgians to hear the voices of the corporate leaders who stood on the wrong side of history, which falls in line with the faith leaders’ demands. But Abrams says that corporate leaders could divest from donating large amounts of money to lobby lawmakers and instead fuse that money into underserved communities. Lastly Abrams says that corporate leaders could also take a stand by endorsing two federal bills that seek to dismantle voter suppression, the For the People Act (H.R. 1 and S. 1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4).
“We can expect no less from the economic pillars of our communities, Abrams wrote. “So I ask like-minded Americans to hold corporations to their professed values — by measuring their actions and demanding they stand with us.”
The calls to boycott go alongside legal action taken by civil rights groups this week to fight SB 202, which harkens back to segregation and Jim Crow-era legislation.
Exonerated! Falsely Accused Black Folks Freed From Prison
1. Herbert Alford
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A Michigan man who spent nearly five years in custody is suing Hertz for failing to produce in a timely manner a receipt that would have proved his innocence long before he was convicted of a 2011 murder. https://t.co/kZaI5tdOv4— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 12, 2021
2. Walter Forbes
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“I don’t hold contempt for the people who lied to convict me ... The reason is selfish: I wasn’t going to allow them to destroy me," said Walter Forbes, freed and exonerated last week after 37 years with the help of @UofMInnocence. https://t.co/WfanIitchU— The Innocence Project (@innocence) December 14, 2020
3 of 15
An innocent Philadelphia man has been freed after spending 19 years in prison because two police officers wrongly claimed he’d raped a woman and then shot at them, when he’d in fact saved her from a different man .Attorneys for Termaine Joseph Hicks claim cops made up the story . pic.twitter.com/FJp5DQUMoQ— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) December 18, 2020
4. Clifford Williams, Nathan Myers
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After a combined 86 years incarcerated for a crime they did not commit, Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers, were exonerated and released last week! Mr. Myers was 18 when he was arrested and is now 61. Mr. Williams was 33 and is now 76. https://t.co/EH2qPCspEj— Equal Justice Initiative (@eji_org) April 5, 2019
5. Calvin BrightSource:WUSA9 5 of 15
6. Kevin Baker, Sean Washington
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Kevin Baker and Sean Washington received life terms in 1996 that were overturned on appeal in December https://t.co/MSWoxkwPzi— Courier-Post (@cpsj) February 4, 2020
7. Theophalis Wilson
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Theophalis Wilson was 17-years-old when he was falsely accused of a triple murder in Philadelphia and sentenced to life in prison. Now, 28 years later, he finally has his freedom. He spoke with @KeithJones https://t.co/mVDISp68hy pic.twitter.com/RQ2pEdZBfM— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 22, 2020
8. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart
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And they are out: Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walk out of the Baltimore city courthouse after 36 yrs for a crime they didn’t do: pic.twitter.com/5UDGWMZmOB— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) November 25, 2019
9. Deandre Charles9 of 15
10. Exonerated Five - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise10 of 15
11. Anthony Ray Hinton
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Name: Anthony Ray Hinton, who was on Alabama’s Death Row for nearly 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit. In 2018, he wrote about his experience in the NYT bestseller, The Sun Does Shine.— City of Birmingham (@cityofbhamal) October 4, 2019
Occupation: Works in community education with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery pic.twitter.com/EwiaJueimb
12. Lamar Johnson12 of 15
13. Wilbert Jones
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Louisiana man freed from prison after serving 43 years for a crime he did not commit. Wilbert Jones was arrested in 1971 at the age of 19 and convicted of rape in 1974. A judge overturned his conviction weeks ago. He still had to pay $2,000 bail before becoming a free man today. pic.twitter.com/LYV4gbTPOf— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) November 15, 2017
14. Xavier DavisSource:Courtesy of Xavier Davis 14 of 15
15. Huwe Burton
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2,372nd Exon: Huwe Burton was convicted in 1991 for stabbing his mother to death when he was 16. He was exonerated on Jan 24th after an investigation showed that his confession was coerced and that his mother's real killer was likely a downstairs neighbor. https://t.co/TM3f76moQ5 pic.twitter.com/rsU1NlPr2y— Exoneration Registry (@exonerationlist) February 4, 2019
Black Faith Leaders List Demands For Corporate Boycott Over Georgia Voting Law was originally published on newsone.com