Nearly 50 people gathered in front of the newest Target Store in Uptown to protest the companies $150K donation to Minnesota Forward, a PAC that supports Tom Emmers for Governor.
16-year old Zachary Fraum was outraged when he learned that Target had donated money to the PAC that supports a politician who feels that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman only, so he organized the protest at the newest store in Chicago.
Recently, Target donated $100K cash and $50K of 'in kind' donations to Minnesota Forward; as well other Minnesota based corporations like Best Buy also donated to the PAC. Minnesota Forward then used those funds to produce and air commercials supporting Tom Emmers.
Although Target has apologized for the donation and has been in negotiations with HRC, the community at large feels betrayed by the corporation. Target has always been gay friendly, has supported the gay community by sponsoring Minnesota Pride every year and has hundreds of thousands of LGBT staff, but why would they support an anti-gay politician? Target claims, in a memo to employees, that they supported MN Forward because a "business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future."
I can agree that everyone is upset with Target and their donation, but I think the real concern is the change by the Supreme Court that allows corporations to donate money directly to political candidates and PAC's, thusly preserving their First Amendment right to free speech. In the past, Corporations could only donate money via PAC's formed by the company, now that money can flow freely from the coffers of the Corporations treasury directly into the pockets of politicans and PAC's. This is just the first test of the new campaign finance laws, as time goes on more and more corporations will be supporting more and more politicans - some we'll like and some we won't.
So was the protest at Target successful? Of the 50 or so people and a dozen pride flags that waved in front of the store to raise awareness of the issue of the funding - then yes it was successful. While I stopped by to take pictures for this article and to speak with a few participants, I think it was successful in bringing the community together to say "we've got a problem here, and you need to know about it." I overheard several passers-by ask what they were protesting about and even saw a few people acknowledge that "We're not shopping here....today" but will they really stay away?
Now, conservatives are jumping on the bandwagon saying that if Target gives into the "thuggery" of the LGBT community then they will boycott the chain of stores.
What do you think? Will a boycott of Target work? Will it raise awareness to the true issue, campaign finance reform Or does it just make our community look poorly?