Coalition of Environmental and Racial Justice Groups March Demanding AT&T End Attacks on Democracy
by Rocio Estrada
May 19, 2022
AT&T’s CEO John Stankey and Sr. Executive Vice President Ed Gillespie should publicly recommit AT&T to supporting policies that expand access to the ballot box and make it easier for eligible voters to participate in our elections.
© Liesbeth Powers / Greenpeace
May 19, 2022, WASHINGTON, DC– A coalition of environmental and racial justice groups will hold peaceful protests across the country today to condemn AT&T’s contributions to state legislators pushing racist anti-voter measures, and call on them to stop donating to election results deniers. Greenpeace USA, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the New Georgia Project, Next Generation Action Network, and other Black-led groups and union activists will hold marches and rallies in San Francisco, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Washington, DC today ahead of AT&T’s Annual Shareholder meeting. Protestors will deliver a petition signed by over 25,000 people calling on AT&T to stop wrecking democracy.
Folabi Olagbaju, Greenpeace USA Democracy Campaign Director said: “Following the summer 2020 uprisings, corporations and business leaders came out in droves saying they support Black Lives Matter and our freedom to vote. But many of those same companies, including AT&T, are contributing to politicians introducing racist anti-voting legislation that disenfranchises Black, Brown, Indigenous, disabled, younger, and older voters. AT&T’s CEO John Stankey and Sr. Executive Vice President Ed Gillespie should publicly recommit AT&T to supporting policies that expand access to the ballot box and make it easier for eligible voters to participate in our elections.”
According to the 2021 Greenpeace USA Report, Dollars vs. Democracy, AT&T is the top contributor to state legislators pushing anti-protest bills. Many of these laws were introduced after the Black Lives Matter-led racial justice demonstrations of 2020 and resistance to fossil fuel pipelines led by Indigenous water protectors.
When insurrectionists stormed the Capitol over a year ago, many companies, including AT&T, vowed to stop donating to the 147 Republicans who tried to overturn the election results. However, according to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, AT&T recently donated tens of thousands of dollars directly to the campaigns of more than a dozen elected officials who voted to nullify the voters’ decision.
Minister Dominique Alexander, CEO and Founder of the Next Generation Action Network, said: “America is returning to the American Nightmare MLK once spoke about. The rights they pride themselves on protecting are being stripped away every day with hate and control in America; the vote in America is sacred and should be afforded to every American citizen.”
The marches follow protests held during the AT&T-sponsored Byron Nelson Golf Tournament on May 9 and 15, and a May 5 panel of activists that highlighted AT&T’s role as one of the top contributors to state legislators pushing anti-protest laws.
Bridget Todd, Director of Communications at UltraViolet, said: “AT&T’s political donations have already helped elect some of the most extremist, right-wing Republican leaders who are hellbent on chipping away at our civil rights state by state and at the federal level. Over the past several months, we’ve seen Texas, Mississippi, and Florida implement unconstitutional abortion bans, hateful, discriminatory legislation that will traumatize transgender children and punish their parents and other LGBTQ+ students, and racist voter suppression laws. It is clear that AT&T is choosing to side with hate and injustice over the rights of workers and consumers, and even over our democracy. AT&T’s continued support of extremist politicians is dangerous and cowardly, and history doesn’t look kindly on cowards. We will continue to hold AT&T accountable for these transgressions to the utmost extent.”
Co-executive Directors of the Center For Popular Democracy Action DaMareo Cooper and Analilia Mejia said: “No company that truly believes Black Lives Matter and that voting rights need to be protected and expanded would do what AT&T is doing right now. They’ve shown they care more about protecting their bottom line than protecting people and their rights. AT&T, and all other companies still contributing to legislators pushing racist anti-voter measures, must end their attack on democracy by stopping their contributions.”
SEIU Workers United Southern Region Director Chris Baumann said: “SEIU members, Fight for $15 worker leaders, and not-yet union workers will not stand by and allow corporations like AT&T and their political allies to silence Black, brown, and API people by sabotaging voting rights. The fight for racial justice and economic justice are inextricably linked. We’re voting to improve our lives and build a better future for our families and communities.”
New Georgia Peach Senior Organizer Eric Robertson said: “AT&T promised to stop supporting politicians who support voter suppression and overturning our democracy. At the New Georgia Project, we’re asking, ‘What happened?’ Democracy is too important for unkept promises, and we’re calling on AT&T to do better.”
Photos will be available here
Contact: Rocio Estrada Snowdy, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, [email protected] 301-592-7700
Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at www.greenpeace.org/usa.