If you’ve lived in Georgia long enough, you’ve no doubt heard about Coca-Cola’s historic role in the Civil Rights movement.
If not for Coca-Cola, the story goes, Georgia would have been the Alabama of that era.
During one important moment, after Martin Luther King, Jr. won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Atlanta’s plans to honor MLK were falling apart.
That’s when Coca-Cola raised its powerful voice:
“It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta. You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co.”
Tickets sold out within hours.
That was just over 50 years ago but the story is still told with pride by anyone who wants to support Coca-Cola’s corporate responsibility and civic engagement.
Today, a different civil rights fight is brewing in its own backyard.
This time, Coca-Cola is silent.
The corporate giant who spent more than $9 million last month to broadcast a Super Bowl commercial denouncing hate and promoting tolerance has suddenly lost its voice.
Despite strong action last year, Coca-Cola has changed course and refuses to speak out against a bill that would write discrimination into Georgia law.
Coca-Cola is silent on a bill that would provide legal cover for businesses who would lock out gays and lesbians and keep us from buying flowers, ordering a cake or, maybe, even sitting at lunch counters.
Sadly, we can’t argue that the company doesn’t know any better.
No, Coca-Cola is fully aware of what’s at stake in Georgia’s legislature this year.
It was Coca-Cola’s corporate leadership that killed a similar bill last year.
The company knows how bad the so-called religious “freedom” bill is.
But despite this knowledge, the company watched silently as the bill passed the Senate last week. And Coca-Cola continues its silence as the bill heads to possible approval in the House in just a matter of hours, days or weeks.
Brought to you by Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is quietly and complicitly watching as lawmakers just 1.7 miles from its global headquarters threaten to turn Georgia into Alabama over LGBT equality.
If Georgia’s religious “freedom” bill becomes law, then every act of discrimination allowed by this legislation will be brought to you by Coca-Cola.
Every time a gay man is turned away from a business and is told to “buy flowers somewhere else,” that moment will be brought to you by Coca-Cola.
Every time a lesbian wonders if she’s even welcome in a Georgia bakery, that moment will be brought to you by Coca-Cola.
And every time a business owner says “we don’t serve your kind,” that moment will be brought to you by Coca-Cola.
Our task is pretty easy, really.
We don’t need to convince Coca-Cola that we are right. The company’s past statements on this legislation; its corporate non-discrimination employment policies; and its multi-million dollar ads prove it understands the issue all too well.
We don’t need to convince Coca-Cola that we are right. We only need to convince Coca-Cola to break its silence.
Here’s how you can make a difference today:
- Use the hashtag #MakeGAHappy and tag Coca-Cola in social media. Tell Coca-Cola on Facebook and Coca-Cola on Twitter to stand up against discrimination.
- Make a video, like Yadira Colmenares did, and share it on YouTube, then share it with Coca-Cola and share it with us.
If you don’t use social media, no problem.
- Join more than 2,300 people: Sign and share the petition.
- Call Coca-Cola’s corporate headquarters: 800-438-2653.
- Forward this email to your friends and family.
This issue is too important to do nothing.