Open Letter to the Walton Family Foundation
Posted on July 15, 2012 by jway
As civil rights leaders, we are writing to call on the Walton Family Foundation to follow in Walmart’s footsteps and end your ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As you know, many other companies and organizations, including your own company Walmart, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Kraft Food Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have already cut ties with or distanced themselves from ALEC and their positions.
The history and values of Walmart and those of the Walton family are intertwined. We would expect that the wide divide between some of ALEC’s activities and Walmart’s purpose which prompted your company to ends its membership in ALEC would make the Walton Family reconsider its support of ALEC as well. We are disturbed that, despite your company’s image about support for Civil Rights, you are funding an organization that has helped to propel serious attacks on our communities. And, we were further troubled to learn that Walmart and the Walton family have given more than $1 million to politicians with close ties to ALEC and its agenda.
Among the elements of the ALEC agenda we are most angered by your support of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws. We were deeply troubled to learn that a Walmart executive co-chaired the ALEC task force that endorsed the Stand Your Ground law.
As the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, Walmart and your family may be blinded to the impact of guns and pro-gun laws on our nation and in our communities. The impact is very real.
We are also deeply concerned about ALEC’s role in promoting voter suppression laws. Supporters of discriminatory voter suppression laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never occurs, and never in amounts large enough to affect the result of elections.
Voter suppression laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise as many as 5 million people. And, it is clear that these laws have the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising the low-income voters, people of color, and the elderly. This runs counter to the Walton Family Foundation’s stated goal to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others.
In this moment when your company and your family are facing widespread criticism for apparent violations of the law and of unethical conduct, we sincerely hope that you’ll take this opportunity to reconsider your course.
We urge you to immediately follow in Walmart’s footsteps and sever ties with ALEC and to publicly voice your opposition to Stand Your Ground and voter suppression laws.
Reverend Jesse Jackson
Founder & CEO Actor & Political Activist
Actor & Political Activist
Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.
National Chair Executive
National Council of Black Women
Gary L. Flowers
Director & CEO
Black Leadership Forum, Inc.
Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, INC.
Dr. Jeremiah Wright
Trinity United Church of Christ
Dr. Bernard Lafayette
Chairman of the Board
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
President & CEO
The Black Institute
President & CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Campbell Patricia Ford
Founder & CEO
DeElla & Associates, LLC
Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler
Plymouth Congregational United Church
McKinney & Associates PR
William “Bill” Lucy
Founder & President
Coalition of Black Trade Unionist
Dr. Earl Trent
Florida Avenue Baptist Church
Author & Executive
Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr.
Editor Senior Pastor
Union Baptist Church
Rev. Arthur Waidmann
Retired Minister, United Church of Christ