Anti-Racism & Wealth: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

As cities across the US continue to see a swath of uprisings in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, our country is being forced to reckon with its racist foundations and systems. That’s long overdue, and there is much more work to be done than what we’ve seen in the past month or so, but the Patriotic Millionaires welcome this reckoning and are committed to continuing this vital work. As the legendary revolutionary and scholar Angela Davis once said, “in a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Our Chair, Morris Pearl, outlined the unique and potent responsibility to be anti-racist that comes with wealth in a USA Today op-ed this weekend, but we want to share a concrete example of what it looks like for wealthy folks who want to eliminate the pernicious cruelty of racism to use their wealth, platform, and status as business leaders to engage in anti-racism – with the clear and important caveat that anti-racism is not a single act, but a lifelong commitment to justice. 

Scott Nash, CEO of MOM’s Organic Markets, sent the following note to his employees in response to the Black Lives Matter protests of recent weeks, a statement which the Patriotic Millionaires strongly support:

“Hi. I want to send a message out to you all regarding the uprising ignited by the murder of George Floyd. As the CEO of MOM’s, it’s personally not my style to jump on the bandwagon like so many other corporate CEOs and corporations- who use current events as PR opportunities. We’ve seen a lot of this during COVID- the “we’re in this together” messages and commercials that to me are inauthentic and meant to drive profits through branding (because we know corporations are mostly in it for themselves!).

Generally, I hate corporate America- the executives, boards of directors, investors/Wall St., and lobbyists. They’re ruining our planet and civilization, in my opinion. Rather than make a PR statement like other corporations about how we’re against racism and oppression and police brutality (it’s absurd to me that anyone would even need to make that statement!!!)- I’d rather take action beyond the usual “thoughts and prayers” gestures which do zero good.

Maybe it’s not an either/or scenario- but again, my distaste for corporate PR firms and their BS messaging simply makes me cringe to join them. I’m struggling to find the specific “voice”- rather than the “echo”- yet fully aware that “indifference makes no difference”. What I really want to say publicly is: “Burn it the f**k down! It’s long overdue!!” Many of us are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

We are giving $5,000 to each of these groups:

The King Center
Anti-racist Research and Policy Center
Color Of Change
The Bail Project

My stance, in case anyone is interested- is that the George Floyd murder was simply a spark-igniting pent up frustration and anger from not just police brutality, but generational oppression of blacks (and other minority groups). Some horrific variation of what happened to George Floyd happens to probably thousands of minorities EVERYDAY- not to mention the more insidious racist oppression that happens to probably a billion people on an ongoing basis.

I think it is shameful- and even a dog whistle for racism- when someone complains about or judges the vandalism and looting that’s happening. I’ve witnessed this among plenty of white liberals- friends and neighbors, etc. I strongly urge employees to not participate in such conversations with each other or customers. I don’t care if one of our stores burns to the ground- some theft, some broken windows, some burning cars, or even entire buildings being set afire- is not the issue, as it pales in comparison to what is truly the issue… a system and society set up to oppress GENERATIONS of entire races of people.”

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