Black Conservatives Suggest Color of Change Activists Continue Campaign Against Coca-Cola's Corporate Giving
If Pressure Group Truly Means What It Says, It Will Push Coke to Drop Ties to Radical Environmental Group
Washington, D.C. - If the activists at the group Color of Change are serious about wanting to keep the Coca-Cola Company from hurting the black community, members of the Project 21 black leadership network suggest that the group demand the soft drink manufacturer also sever its ties to the World Wildlife Fund for its support of overburdening regulation.
"The sagging economy over the last three years has devastated black Americans. Unemployment, declining home values and high fuel prices have hit black households particularly hard. Coca Cola's support for the radical environmental agenda only exacerbates these maladies for black families," said Project 21 spokesman Horace Cooper.
Color of Change, a group co-founded by former Obama Administration "green jobs czar" Van Jones, demanded Coke cease its corporate membership in the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council because ALEC promotes state-level legislation regarding voter identification requirements that ensure ballot integrity (a protection Color of Change calls "discriminatory"). Bowing to Color of Change claims that associating with ALEC meant the company was "tak[ing] money [from blacks] with one hand and tak[ing] away our vote with the other," a statement from the Coca-Cola Company released on April 4 said the company was cancelling its membership with ALEC because the company has "a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our company and industry."
It is because of this statement, and Color of Change's apparent concern about the company's corporate giving and the effects of that giving on the black community, that Project 21 members are calling on Color of Change to furthermore ask that the Coca-Cola Company stay true to its April 4 statement of policy and additionally discontinue its affiliation with the World Wildlife Federation due to that group's support of a "cap-and-trade" emissions regulations.
In October of 2011, Coke pledged at least $2 million to the World Wildlife Fund and promoted the group on many of its beverage products. But the WWF's past support of cap-and-trade emissions legislation, which failed in Congress but is now being implemented through the federal bureaucracy by the Obama Administration, is expected to raise the cost of energy production and consumer prices and be particularly harmful to minority communities.
"Ironically, the cap-and-trade policy position that has been advanced by the World Wildlife Fund will likely harm black Americans more than any voter ID law ever could," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "Regulations on greenhouse gas emissions will drive energy prices higher and lead to reduced living standards. Especially in an uncertain economy, raising costs is a certain way to destroy jobs and make life miserable for everyone. That's why Color of Change should demand Coke stop being a benefactor of WWF in the same way it stopped supporting ALEC."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that, under a cap-and-trade regulatory policy, "most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."
Project 21's Cooper added: "The policies advocated by the World Wildlife Fund will likely result in higher fuel prices and greater economic stagnation for all Americans. Tragically, minority households would be the hardest hit. This kind of anti-minority economic policy must not be countenanced."
A poll of black Americans conducted for The National Center for Public Policy Research by Wilson Research Strategies found that 76 percent of blacks at the time wanted Congress to make economic recovery — and not climate change — its top priority. Additionally, 38 percent believe job losses from climate change legislation would be felt most strongly in the black community, and 56 percent believe economic and quality of life concerns of the black community are not considered when addressing climate issues.
Considering Color of Change's zeal in attacking the Coca-Cola Company for its association with ALEC because it was allegedly "supporting an agenda that harms black people," severing ties with the World Wildlife Fund would be consistent with Color of Change's line of thinking.
"The regulatory policies that the World Wildlife Fund has supported are going to be devastating to black America," said Project 21 spokeswoman Cherylyn Harley LeBon. "If Coke has suddenly decided to take a second look at its corporate giving, the case against WWF certainly seems stronger than against ALEC. Color of Change should understand this as well, so I welcome their activism in making Coke a more responsible corporate entity."
However, Project 21's Borelli warns that all of Color of Change's bluster may be more about politics than alleged equality — especially if they remain silent about the Coca-Cola Company's ties to the World Wildlife Fund. Color of Change's efforts may instead be about chilling conservative speech.
Borelli warns: "It's up to Color of Change to prove to us that this is not just part of the left's orchestrated campaign to silence conservative free speech. They have targeted radio talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and cable television personalities such as Glenn Beck when he was on Fox News. They must prove that they are not simply intimidating corporations to stifle their legitimate support of organizations that promote limited government."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).