Activist organization Color of Change launched a campaign to get pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to end its sponsorship of conservative group the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has seen a outflow of sponsors in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and its support of controversial "Kill at Will" or "Stand Your Ground" laws that played a role in the shooting. The 30-second ads are airing across the country. Those interested in supporting the campaign can contribute online.
“With these ads, we are spreading the news about Johnson & Johnson’s ties to ALEC even more aggressively,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “Our goal is to help consumers understand that Johnson & Johnson helps fund a secretive and undemocratic organization that has passed laws that restrict access to the polls for Black folks, Latinos, low-income voters and other marginalized groups. The stakes are too high, and Americans deserve to know when their spending habits promote polices that are at odds with their values.
”The ads will air this week on radio stations targeting African Americans in Chicago, DC and New Brunswick, NJ, where Johnson & Johnson headquarters are located. The ads will also air in Sanford, FL, where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in February. The unarmed teenager’s killer, George Zimmerman, evaded arrest for more than a month as his defenders pointed to Florida’s “stand your ground” as justification for his actions. The NRA and ALEC exported this law to more than 20 states across the country, jeopardizing the safety of Americans nationwide.
ColorOfChange began contacting Johnson & Johnson in November of last year in an effort to educate the company about ALEC’s role in voter suppression. The ColorOfChange community and members of allied organizations began calling the company’s leadership in April to amplify the demand to drop ALEC. Johnson & Johnson has refused to do so, even as competitor Procter & Gamble announced in April that it would end its membership in the right-wing policy group.
Since ColorOfChange launched its campaign, 18 companies have announced that they will end their memberships. These companies include Wal-Mart, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis and publisher of science and health information), Kaplan, Scantron, Medtronic, American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.