By Bishop Reginald T. Jackson
On Tuesday, April 20, faith leaders called for a nationwide boycott of Home Depot, not only the largest corporation in Georgia, but also one of the largest corporations in the United States. Why did we call for this boycott? Because Home Depot has failed to live up to its corporate responsibility by failing to speak out against a nationwide effort to suppress the votes of Blacks and other voters of color. Last year across the nation, Blacks and voters of color turned out in huge numbers and determined the winner of the presidential race and who controlled the United States Senate. This was especially true in Georgia turning Georgia “blue” for the first time since 1992. Electing the first Black and the first Jewish United States Senators in the history of Georgia changed control of the United States Senate.
In response to Donald’s Trump “big lie,” the Georgia legislature passed and the governor signed SB 202, “The Election Integrity Act.” This legislation’s intent is to suppress and make it more difficult for Blacks and people of color to vote. Prior to the passing of this legislation, no corporation in Georgia spoke out against it. In fact, some applauded the legislation. When faith leaders threatened a boycott against companies for not speaking out, a number of them suddenly voiced their stance against the legislation, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, UPS, and Aflac. Since then, more than 500 corporations nationwide have done the same. The legislation is a threat to the future of our democracy. It harkens back to the days of Jim Crow, a dark period in our nation’s history.
Home Depot has refused to speak out against this legislation. Faith leaders had several calls with corporate leaders seeking to persuade them to use their standings and influence to address the difficulty with the law. We have reached out to Home Depot. They have not been represented at any meetings, nor responded to our efforts to discuss the matter. We have no choice but to call for a boycott. Blacks in the United States are the nation’s number one consumer and make more than two trillion dollars a year. We cannot continue to buy products and spend our dollars with companies that do not support or speak up for us. The most important right we have in this democracy is the right to vote. This legislation punishes Blacks and people of color because we exercised our right to vote. Corporations who fail to speak out to protect the right to vote demonstrate a lack of values and principles. Silence equals complicity. This complicity must not be rewarded.
We are calling upon everyone, Black, Brown, white—everyone who loves this democracy and believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people to join us in this boycott of Home Depot. It is not something we want to do; it is something we have to do. This matter is not Democrat or Republican. It is bipartisan. We have to hold our elected officials and corporations accountable. Hence the boycott of Home Depot.
Sixth Episcopal District
AME Church (Georgia)
Bishop Jackson is the former pastor of St. Matthew AME Church in Orange, NJ and past president of the Black Ministers’ Council of NJ, the organization instrumental for bringing an end to racial profiling on the NJ Turnpike.