April 14—Today, Muslim Advocates led a coalition of 25 non-partisan advocacy, faith and civil rights groups to call on The Coca-Cola Company, which prides itself as a company that champions diversity, fairness and inclusion, to withdraw from and decline any existing or future sponsorships, including in-kind contributions, to political party conventions where hateful and bigoted rhetoric is highlighted and supported. The letter, signed by African American, Latino, Muslim, Arab, women’s and veterans groups such as Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, Arab American Institute, Feminist Majority Foundation, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, highlights the important role that companies like Coca-Cola play in shaping public discourse.
“There is no room for hate and bigotry in our political discourse,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates staff attorney and lead for the Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate. “Hate peddled during this election cycle has been contributing to a disturbing rise in hate crimes. Corporations like Coca Cola have a responsibility to ensure their brand and resources are not used to fuel this hate and bigotry and divide our nation.”
The letter cites examples of hate violence and vandalism that have been inspired by candidates’ rhetoric, including an incident where a non-denominational chapel at Northwestern University was defaced with racist and anti-gay messages, invoking the name of a candidate for public office, while targeting African American, Muslim, LGBT and Jewish communities.
“Corporations like Coke can play an important role in steering this nation away from hateful rhetoric and bigotry,” said Richard Cizik, executive director of New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. “By disassociating itself from potentially dangerous speech that might be uttered at political conventions, not only can Coke take a stand against religious discrimination but it can also support millions of its customers who are directly and negatively impacted by such language.”
“Companies — like Coke — that pride themselves on their efforts to provide good workplaces for women and people of color should not be supporting any political party convention that tolerates such blatant sexism and bigotry,” said Katherine Spillar, executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation. “I’m reminded of the Susan B. Anthony’s declaration that ‘No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex.'”
To read the entire letter, click here.