Activists in Georgia are demanding a new boycott of Home Depot, not over something the company said or did, but precisely because they believe the home improvement retail store did not disavow Georgia new election law with strong enough language.
What is the background?
Critics of Georgia’s voting law — which has been the subject of rampant misinformation — claim the law makes voting more difficult. Supporters of the law, however, say the law was necessary to improve election integrity and have noted that many other states have enacted similar provisions.
With building pressure from activists, and such claims from President Joe Biden that the law is “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” many major corporations spoke out against the law, and Major League Baseball even moved its All-Star game from Georgia over growing pressure to address the law.
The Coca-Cola Company and Delta Air Lines — two companies whose headquarters are located in Atlanta — denounced the bill. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said his company “does not support this legislation,” citing claims that it makes voting more difficult, while Delta CEO Ed Bastian called the law “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”
Home Depot also addressed the law, saying, “We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation. We’ll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote.”
What are activists saying?
According to the New York Times, a coalition of black faith leaders are demanding a boycott of Home Depot because they believe the company “abdicated its responsibility as a good corporate citizen by not pushing back on the state’s new voting law.”
Bishop Reginald Jackson, who leads all 534 African Methodist Episcopal churches in the Peach State, claimed Home Depot “demonstrated an indifference, a lack of response to the call, not only from clergy, but a call from other groups to speak out in opposition to this legislation.”
“We don’t believe this is simply a political matter,” Jackson told the Times. “This is a matter that deals with securing the future of this democracy, and the greatest right in this democracy is the right to vote.”
Rev. Timothy McDonald III, a pastor in Atlanta, added, “This is not just a Georgia issue; we’re talking about democracy in America that is under threat. We’ve got to use whatever leverage and power, spiritual fortitude that we have, including our dollars, to help people to understand that this is a national campaign.”
However, other activists who spoke with the Times said they could not support a boycott because such efforts impact working-class people.
Still, others suggested any impact to workers is acceptable collateral damage.
“It is unfortunate for those who will be impacted by this, but how many more million will be impacted if they don’t have the right to vote?” said Jamal Bryant, the senior pastor of a church in Lithonia. “And so in weighing it out, we understand, tongue in cheek, that this is a necessary evil. But it has to happen in order for the good to happen.”