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Ask Honda and Hyundai to Put the Brakes on Hate

by Van Le on 03/13/2012 at 12:42pm

auto manufacturingMartin Luther King, Jr. once said that “the greatest tragedy…was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

When it comes to auto manufacturing in Alabama, all we’re hearing are crickets.

Several weeks ago we posted an update to our “Put the Brakes on Hate” campaign: how we’d asked car companies like Honda and Hyundai to join us in the fight to repeal Alabama’s anti-immigrant law HB 56, and how they basically told us it wasn’t their problem.  As a CNN report wrote after speaking to a Hyundai spokesman, “the company does not take a position on the immigration law one way or the other.”

The thing is, HB 56 is their problem.  It’s an immigrant problem.  It’s an Alabama problem.  It’s an American problem.

As we, along with many other groups have documented so many times, HB 56 is causing a humanitarian crisis in Alabama, where immigrants are being harassed and Latinos are being racially profiled; where parents are split apart from their children and families are forced to try and survive without a source of water.

Car companies like Honda and Hyundai have the power to stop this.  Sources inside the state legislature have said that if major corporations were to turn against this law, HB 56 would soon be history.  Auto manufacturing is a major industry in Alabama, and these companies have major clout.  They lobby the state legislature hard to secure tax breaks that advance their business interests – and then they market heavily to Latinos and other minority groups.  But now the community that they are a part of has turned to them for help – and they have elected to remain on the sidelines.  It’s unconscionable. 

This week, activism is at a whole new level.  SEIU’s Eliseo Medina and the Leadership Conference’s Wade Henderson are traveling to South Korea in the hopes of protesting a Hyundai shareholders meeting.  They want everyone at the heart of Hyundai to know what the company is perpetuating when it does business in Alabama.

Please join our effort.  Tell auto manufacturers in Alabama that they must speak out against Alabama’s anti-immigrant law.  Tell Hyundai and Honda to put the brakes on hate before we put the brakes on them.

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