In March restrictions on sugary soft drinks instituted by Mayor Bloomberg in partnership with the New York City Department of Health, will take effect in New York City. The restriction limits businesses who earn more than 50 percent of their revenue from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. According to the city, about 70 percent of black New Yorkers and 66 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers are obese or overweight, compared with 52 percent of white non-Hispanic residents, based on a 2011 survey. The problem is often worse in low-income communities.The first time I heard this idea I thought that it was an unusually bold move. An idea so obvious in its simplicity that I had to wonder why this epiphany is one that had never been conceived before.
But believe it or not there are organizations who are against these restrictions. One of which has always proclaimed its main purpose to be the advancement of "colored" people, the NAACP. The New York chapter of the NAACP, (The National Association For The Advancement of Colored People) has joined the Hispanic Federation in a lawsuit designed to stop the restrictions despite the fact that the African-American community has been disproportionately affected by health risks brought on in part by the excessive consumption of soft drinks. I must admit that this decision perplexed me until I dug a little deeper, and discovered the hidden motive for the NAACP, and the Hispanic Federations support. The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation have in fact been taking thousands of dollars in contributions from both Coke and Pepsi, and the former president of the Hispanic Federation, Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, now works for Coca Cola in an executive capacity. The motive behind this lawsuit is all too clear.
In both 2011 and 2012, the Coca-Cola Foundation awarded the NAACP $100,000 for Project H.E.L.P. (Healthy Eating, Lifestyle Change and Physical Activity).
In 2011, the Coca-Cola Foundation granted $35,000 to the NAACP New York State Conference for their education initiatives.
Coca-Cola and Pepsico were sponsors of the 2011 NAACP New York State Conference 75th Annual Convention.
Pepsi was recognized with an NAACP Award in 2010.
PepsiCo's website says it is working with the NAACP to advance national leadership and grassroots activism.
The NAACP received a Pepsi corporate contribution for "education and inclusion in 2010.
Similar "contributions" were made to the Hispanic Federation.
The Coca-Cola Company is listed as a funder on the Hispanic Federation website.
Coca-Cola and the Hispanic Federation teamed up in 2011 in NYC to "fight hunger."
In 2011 Coca-Cola joined with the Hispanic Federation to sponsor an event to get the Bronx "up and moving."
In 2012, Hispanic Foundation President Lillian Rodriguez Lopez left to assume a new position with the Coca-Cola Company.
Coca-Cola was a sponsor of a two-day 2012 economic opportunity event in New York City hosted by the New York State Senate and the Hispanic Federation, the second annual Undid Latina.
This is blatant case of corporate cronyism fueled by money. Maybe the NAACP is only concerned with the advancement of "colored people", and not the progress of African-American's. It is entirely possible that the organization still follows an antiquated idea of what it perceives to be advancement, instead of an all encompassing ideal. The concept's of advancement and progress as it relates to African-American's has gone far beyond having the right to eat at a lunch counter, or vote in elections. Therefore, activism in the Black community can no longer be one dimensional. Today's obstacles are more subtle and multi-layered, and they include certain health issues that have plagued the Black community for decades. In order to advance or progress, we must live. Existing is just not enough. But none of this really matters if one of the premiere civil rights organization's sells out, bows down to corporate greed, and has proven that its support is for sale at the expense of the very people whose causes they claim to champion. The Hispanic Federation, whose mission is "to empower and advance the Hispanic community," has a twisted idea of advocacy, and does not understand that good health advancement and empowerment both go hand in hand.
Hazel N. Dukes, president of the NYC chapter of the NAACP says,
"It is wrong to assume, as this proposal seemingly does, that given the proper education and tools, people are incapable of making these decisions for themselves. I strongly object to the imposition on personal freedom suggested by this ban.
The proposal is arbitrary in the types of businesses that it impacts, corner bodegas, movie theaters and restaurants will be prohibited from selling these beverages while grocery and convenience stores will not.
And for all of those reasons, it risks disproportionately impacting the people who can least afford it. People who frequent corner markets and not gourmet stores. Given the many significant issues faced by our community, the time and resources of this great city can be put to much better use than by offering up a misdirected solution to the growing problem of obesity."
This is pure and utter nonsense. I am far more concerned with the health and well being of our community than I am about small business owner's. The NAACP's priority should be the people first and foremost, but unfortunately they seem to have lost there way, and their since of consciousness in the process.