Here’s a fascinating story from Valley News Live (Fargo-Grand Forks) about vote yes / vote no t-shirts.
According to the story, a church youth group gave students “vote yes” shirts to wear to their school. When they did this, parents called the district to complain sharing that this message didn’t belong in the schools.
However, the Ada-Borup School District disagreed. The shirts didn’t cause a disruption, nor did they violate the dress code. Because of this, Superintendent and High School Principal Mike Kolness shared that the school could not take away the students’ right to free speech.
Now, here’s where the story gets good. In response, a group of students decided to make their own “vote no” t-shirts and wear them to school the following week! According to the story:
The students at Ada-Borup want everyone to know those lines of communication are open, especially as an important November vote draws near.
Kolness says if there is ever a major problem with the T-shirts or others like them he will step in and put a halt to it.
He says nothing should interfere with educating the kids.
I don’t know that I agree with using children to get your message out. We saw this during the Dump General Mills rallies when looking at pictures – many of the attendees were school-aged children. For parents to expose children to ignorance at such an important developmental stage of their lives is sad to me. In a time that we fight the bullying epidemic, we have adults telling their children, “these people are not like you and should be treated differently. They are wrong and don’t deserve basic rights granted to others.”
And marriage supporters blame gay marriage for causing divide and destruction? It makes me think of a great quote I saw the other day:
When looking for faults, use a mirror, not a telescope.
What are your thoughts? Does freedom of speech apply here when parents adults are influencing the message?
I would like to commend you for taking a stand on discrimination of any kind in the workplace.
General Mills Shareholder, September 24, 2012
Source: Star Tribune
General Mills held its annual company meeting today with shareholders. At the meeting, there was both both support and criticism voiced for the company taking a public stand opposing the mean-spirited marriage amendment.
CEO, Ken Powell, once again reiterated the company’s opposition to the amendment, stating that General Mills sees this as an issue that would negatively impact their business:
We see it as a business issue that’s not good for our state, our employees and our company. We did not do it as a public relations move.
I’ve said it multiple times on this site, but it’s worth repeating again and again: Thank you, General Mills.
To see the text from Ken Powell’s announcement back in June, click here.
In yesterday’s Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten penned an opinion piece in which she makes the following claim:
At corporations like Target and General Mills, employees who believe children need a mother and father increasingly fear that making their views clear could threaten job advancement.
As a Target Team Member, I was shocked to read this claim made in such a public forum. I took to our internal microblogging tool (think Twitter) immediately and shared the link encouraging Communications to contact the author about using Target’s name while making such an absurd claim.
First, our executive committee, board and senior leadership team are made up of primarily heterosexual men and women. While we may have some diversity in the upper ranks, representation for LGBT leaders is limited (or at least the ones that feel comfortable enough to be out). There are a handful of senior leaders that attend one or two LGBTA Business Council events throughout the year, as they would any other business council.
Second, Target’s Christian Network is sponsored by a member of the Executive Committee. This individual reports directly into Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target Corporation. The Christian Network regularly posts Bible versus, conducts Bible Studies at work and has actively encouraged the reporting of any “social” or “political” statements at work. There have been multiple negative repercussions as a result of this action. I will not go into detail here how LGBTA team members have been impacted, but let me say: if anyone is “threaten[ed]” at work for their beliefs, it is those that oppose this mean-spirited amendment. With nearly 1,000 team members part of the Christian network, the claim made by this author, once again, seems absurd.
Third, openness is a cornerstone to Target’s culture. We have open door policies that encourage team members to have conversations with each other. However, in the case of same-sex equality, certain networks have explicitly stated to their team members not to discuss this topic. Per the above, instead, they recommend the filing of complaints. This is opposite to the culture that we promote, and, I would argue, damaging to every team member. Please don’t make a claim that your views could threaten your job advancement, when in reality, you refuse to even engage in the conversation and instead, work to punish those that do.
It’s clear that there are individuals who will continue to work to ensure the conversation around same-sex equality is stopped – whether they use techniques internally, or they take to public forums like this author has done. The whole situation saddens me as diversity and inclusion are true cornerstones to Target’s culture. It’s one of the reasons why I joined this great organization. I know that, together we can figure out how to navigate this topic. If we remain divided, though, we all lose.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council and Christian Network. The views expressed in this post are my own and are no way affiliated with Target Corporation.
In June, General Mills came out in support of equality and encouraged Minnesota to vote NO on the mean-spirited marriage amendment. Today, I’m happy to report that the “Dump General Mills” boycott put on by Minnesota for Marriage had no impact on company performance. Both sales and profits rose for the quarter and General Mills shared that the results were “a little bit better than we’d planned.”
Not only have sales and profits increased, but the stock price is up five percent since mid-June as well! With all of that said, Carlton Marketing Professor, Akshay Rao, had this to say:
To make a connection between an earnings report and a particular social phenomenon is very difficult. … What you can infer, based on how quiet everything has been since the initial flurry of protests and counterprotests, is that the issue pretty much lost steam. And I think there’s been a good reason for that.
Ok, so with my Business background, I’d probably have to agree. However, it sure is sweet to see sales and profits rise despite rallies and boycotts put on by Minnesota for Marriage.
More evidence that standing up for what is right doesn’t cause the backlash some may fear. Now I ask: Where are you other Minnesota-based companies? The water out here is really nice; I think it’s time to jump in to vote NO!
Late last week, Minnesotans United for All Families released a statement announcing Capella University’s public opposition to the mean-spirited marriage amendment on ballots this fall. From the release:
Today Capella University demonstrated its leadership among educational institutions. The decision to publicly oppose this amendment shows that more and more, companies in Minnesota are speaking out against this hurtful measure because it is not in the best interests of businesses, families or Minnesota.
Capella University is in good company with General Mills, St. Jude Medical, Thomson Reuters and other businesses in the state of Minnesota that have encouraged voters to just say no.
An article from USA Today that talks about Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and his commitment to donate $2.5 million dollars to Washington United for Marriage to help defeat Washington State’s marriage amendment.
The article references other companies standing for marriage equality, including Microsoft, General Mills and JC Penney, and compares them to the recent media flurry surrounding Chick-fil-A.
An interesting read on big business and their role in these debates.
Last month, General Mills shared fourth-quarter earnings and CEO, Ken Powell indicated that he’s seen no sales impact as a result of publicly opposing the Minnesota marriage amendment. I did a quick check of the stock price today and it appears that General Mills is up since the announcement opposing the amendment. While stock price is a short-term sign, engaging and attracting talent will be a much longer-term measure and the company will have the ability to say “we did the right thing” for many years to come.
If they want to come out and support one side or the other, we are going to let them know they got customers on each side.
Andy Parrish, Deputy Campaign Manager, Minnesota for Marriage
Source: Star Tribune
Parrish’s response to General Mills coming out against the mean-spirited marriage amendment on Minnesota ballots this fall. Expect to see Minnesota for Marriage to continue their strategy of intimidating companies from coming out against the amendment.
Interesting article from the Star Trib highlighting the fact that amendment supporters have launched a more aggressive campaign here in Minnesota than other states. The article makes reference to the Dump General Mills Ralliesthat took place last week to “spook” other Minnesota-based companies from coming out against the amendment.
From the article:
Minnesota law already forbids same-sex marriage, but amendments supporters want voters to cement it into the state Constitution to prevent judges or future legislators from changing it.
Minnesota for Marriage leaders are heading into the summer months with a dogged focus on keeping supporters energized and pushing back hard if other Minnesota businesses surface to oppose the amendment.
Minnesota for Marriage says it has identified 65,000 supporters to help with the campaign. Staffers reach out daily to new church groups, which are being counted on as core support. They plan to try to draw in union members, minority communities and the elderly — groups that tend to vote Democratic but who have often opposed same-sex marriage in other states.
The article goes on to talk about how both sides have been active in building a coalition of supporters. Amendment supporters continue to rely heavily on religious ties to pass this amendment:
Religious observers say church activity is likely to tick up by September. Supportive pastors are expected to preach on the issue, endorse the amendment, even raise money to support the measure.
Some good quotes from the other side; paints the picture of just how hard amendment supporters are going to work to pass this thing in the fall. More proof that we must continue to fight and tell our stories each and every day!
Here’s a fun image for your Facebook profile. Last week, in the midst of the “dump” General Mills rallies, I updated my profile pic with this image and included the text:
General Mills is being attacked this week because they publicly opposed the mean-spirited marriage amendment on Minnesota ballots this fall. Please take ONE minute to read the below blog entry and send General Mills a note of thanks for their support of diversity and inclusion.
Two companies that don’t think this amendment is good for Minnesota. In a previous post, I shared Target’s stance:
Target does not believe that a constitutional fight over the issue is good for Minnesota or the state’s ability to attract jobs and grow the economy. Consistent with our long-standing support of civic engagement, we are encouraging our team members to exercise their right to vote.
Feel free to “swipe” this image and use it in your social media circles as a way to show your appreciation for Minnesota businesses coming out against the amendment fight! You can also take action and send a letter of support.
Yesterday, I posted a letter that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sent to 50 of Minnesota’s largest companies with a vague threat (referencing a Starbucks boycott the group staged). The goal of the letter is to get companies to stay neutral on the mean-spirited marriage amendment on ballots this fall.
So, I decided that it was time that we start sending our own letters. To make it easy, I included contact information for a couple of big companies below:
Phone: 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)
Mail: Best Buy Corporate Customer Care, P.O. Box 9312, Minneapolis , MN 55440
Mail: 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Mail: PO Box 9300, Minneapolis, MN, 55440-9300
Oh, and also, PLEASE be sure to send General Mills a BIG thank you for coming out against the amendment!
Phone: 1-800-248-7310 (7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CT, weekdays)
Mail: General Mills, Inc., P.O. Box 9452, Minneapolis, MN 55440
Here’s one of the pics snapped of the General Mills protest rally today. As you can see, not a lot of folks turned out to protest (about 20 or so). Protesters gathered up General Mills products from their homes to donate to homeless shelters in support of the “dump General Mills” message.
John Croman of Kare 11 posted another pic via twitpic. The most surprising (or saddest) part of these pictures is the number of children that you see. It reminds me of a lyric from a Dixie Chicks song:
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought’a hate a perfect stranger
And then we wonder why kids treat each other differently in our schools and why bullying has become such an epidemic. Shame on these parents.
For those wondering what they can do to send General Mills a message of thanks, I’ve posted a couple times now a quick and easy link to say “thank you.” Additionally, A “support General Mills” event was set up for this Thursday from 6:00pm-9:00pm by LeftMN. The group is asking that anyone who supports General Mills for standing up for equality bring in unopened and non-perishable items to donate as a way of saying “Thanks, General Mills!” (I love the approach of the counter-donation strategy; both this week’s rally and the thank you event benefit the homeless shelters).
Will share any additional news or insight I get from the rally throughout the rest of the week. Until then, I’ll keep eating my Cheerios!
Thanks to Andy B. for sharing the above photo with me.
Well, it’s official. The dumpgeneralmills domain came to life today asking folks to sign a petition against General Mills. The goal of the site is to tell the company that standing on the side of equality will result in lost business.
I’m sad to report that the site has almost 7,000 signatures. If you’ve not already sent a note to General Mills to say “thank you for opposing the mean-spirited amendment and standing on the correct side of history,” I’ve made it really easy. Just click here. Let’s make sure that the amendment supporters aren’t the only ones that General Mills hears from!
Earlier this afternoon, I posted about how Minnesota for Marriage will be holding “Dump General Mills” rallies starting tomorrow at General Mills’ headquarters (if you haven’t read the post yet and clicked on the link to thank General Mills for their support, please do it now).
Interestingly enough, it’s not really Minnesotan’s behind this move. Once again, we see the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) trying to strong-arm both companies and voters in our state by funneling in outside money and influence. Just check out who registered the dumpgeneralmills domain on June 16: the National Organization for Marriage.
In case you didn’t know, NOM is the same group that promotes “ex-gay therapy” and has attempted to strong-arm the likes of Starbucks and republicans that speak out against the amendment. They go from state to state and are a well-funded machine. So when you hear things like, “real Minnesotans fighting to ‘protect’ marriage” just realize, things are not always what they seem in politics.
Please remember to drop General Mills a note or give them a call to say thank you.