Friday, November 24, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation Comments on Protests Held at Wal-Mart in Richmond, KY, and Possible Black Friday Protests of Wal-Mart

A group of protesters converged last week on the Wal-Mart in Richmond, KY to protest the company's fair and equal treatment of homosexuals. Wal-Mart has been under increasing pressure from conservative Christians, especially after they expanded their diversity program in a deal with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Kentucky Equality Federation's Membership Manager and Acting Bluegrass Chapter President, Clarence Wallace, began receiving reports about the protest within hours of its development. The Federation also received approximately 24 emails and telephone calls from concerned members and citizens, including people who work at the Richmond Wal-Mart.

In electronic communication with Wal-Mart's corporate offices, Kentucky Equality Federation General Counsel Paige D. Marks asked Wal-Mart for guidance about the prospect of counter demonstrations or support rallies to support the company's diversity program.

Kentucky Equality Federation members have called for a counter demonstration celebrating diversity as well as fair and equal treatment in the work place to coincide with the one being held by the Richmond Chapter of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance on Black Friday.

Wallace called the protest of a Kentucky Wal-Mart "a complete misunderstanding of Wal-Mart's policy."

During a conference call late Wednesday evening, Federation management and Board members decided not to become involved in any counter protests or a support rally in Richmond.

Though we support the decision of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance's Richmond Chapter, and share solidarity with them, we will spend Black Friday with our loved ones, having just commemorated the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people and marked by the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "It is unreasonable however for anyone to think that companies don't want to do business with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; our money is as green as anyone's."