Black Voters Matter Kicks Off GA Week of Direct Action With Press Conference at the GA Chamber of Commerce
Black Voters Matter co-founders LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright issued this statement following the refusal of Georgia-based businesses and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to denounce racist voter restriction bills:
“While Georgia lawmakers continue their full-throttled attack on democracy, major corporations are wasting the precious opportunity to make good on their commitments to equity and racial justice. Last year, Georgia-based businesses like Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, Southern Company, and SunTrust Bank launched multi-million dollar campaigns pledging solidarity and support for Black Lives Matter. But in this critical moment for Black voting rights, many of these same companies are offering little more than lip service – even as they expect Black people to purchase their goods and services. At the same time, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is attempting to cater to both sides and has yet to issue a clear statement on whether it supports the Black community or blatant voter suppression.
“Delta Airlines, which just shared an update on its progress to become an anti-racist, anti-discrimination organization in honor of Black History Month, has yet to come out against these voter suppression bills – despite having a 21 percent Black employee base and 43 percent employees of color. Bill Bastion and other CEOs have the economic power to apply the right pressure to prevent the Governor from signing these racist bills into law.
“With legislators now eyeing sweeping changes to the state’s Board of Elections and the power to take over local election boards, this is an attack on voting access not seen since Reconstruction. The stakes are higher than ever, and it’s time for these corporations to make good on their commitments to equity and justice. Their silence is deafening. With just a few days left in the legislative session, we don’t need silence or empty corporate statements and campaigns that claim how much they value the Black community; we need action.
“We have seen that corporate pressure works best when grassroots activists are in the driver’s seat. In the past, companies have aligned themselves with community organizers and used their platforms to block cruel, unconstitutional legislation all over the U.S., including here in Georgia just two years ago. Local businesses have already signed on to our campaign to denounce these racist restrictions for what they are, and it’s time for others to follow suit.
“Black voters in Georgia – and in more than 40 other states – are under attack, and the need for federal voting rights legislation has never been more urgent. Congress must pass the HR1 ‘For The People’ Act and the HR4 ‘John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement’ Act to safeguard Black voting rights and restore Black voting power. While our federal representatives continue to move this issue forward, the corporations getting rich off Black business have a responsibility to protect our communities and kill these restriction bills.”