Atlanta Urban League Giving Chik-fil-A CEO Equality Award

Atlanta Urban League Giving Chik-fil-A CEO Equality Award

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt and D. David Kinney

Every year the Urban League of Greater Atlanta throws their prestigious Equal Opportunity Day Dinner in November. This Saturday (November 16th, 2013) will be the 52nd time the organization, which focuses on the economic empowerment of African-Americans and others to achieve their highest human potential and civil rights, has held the Equality Opportunity Day Dinner. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality.”

Honorees of the prestigious recognition this year include Congressman John Lewis, who is truly a shining beacon of equality, civil rights, and justice for all and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy. You may remember Cathy and the statements he made against gay marriage that sparked headlines throughout the world and a boycott of the chicken restaurant.

Yes, Dan Cathy has since made amends with gay rights activist groups and has stopped donating to organizations that are overtly anti-gay, but his position on gay marriage remains the same. And the corporation is seemingly still donating large sums to organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which both promote marriage in the ‘biblical sense’ and are strongly and openly opposed to same-sex marriage.

So, Chick-fil-A has basically taken steps to make themselves look better because it was hurting their business … but nothing really changed.

To refresh your memory here is Dan Cathy’s infamous statement from a radio show:

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

And ensuing the repeal of DOMA in June 2013 Dan Cathy Tweeted (and quickly deleted the same Tweet):

“Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.”

So the question on many Atlanta minds right now is surely: Why is Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy receiving this award? Dan T. Cathy is not a “Champion of Justice and Equality.” Yes, Cathy tried to fix his PR nightmare, but compared to Congressman John Lewis who lives and breathes civil rights, Dan Cathy’s work on justice and equality wanes and withers in comparison.

FENUXE has tried to reach out to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta for a comment, but they have not returned our call.


The Urban League of Greater Atlanta has responded to criticism that they’re honoring Chik-fil-A’s Dan Cathy during its Equal Opportunity Day Dinner with the theme “Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality.” In addition to posting their response on Facebook, and online, they also pasted it below in our comments section. The president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Nancy A. Flake Johnson, also provided this statement to FENUXE:

“… we are not honoring Mr. Cathy for being a champion of justice and equality; rather we are recognizing his and Chic-fil-A’s contributions to community empowerment, with a focus on his support of youth financial literacy (which we find sorely lacking in our Atlanta metropolitan communities) and food for the hungry. The annual dinner recognizes contributions in a number of categories; and at the same time, we recognize that contributions to educational opportunity and community empowerment for inner city youth are, in a substantial way, a promotion of equal opportunity in the Community Empowerment category. The Urban League does not condone any suppression of civil or human rights. We understand your concerns and we hope our explanation assures you that we are not abandoning our commitment to equal rights for all people.”

Source: Atlanta Daybook,,

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  • Edward Ball

    this is a joke right? did I somehow find my way onto the Onion?

  • Daniel English

    If this is the truth then what bullshit the Atlanta Urban League must represent. Dan Cathy is the epitome of conservative white heterosexual Protestant values. If they gave this man an award then by that act alone the Atlanta Urban League has nullified their credibility and relevance. It would be like the NAACP giving an award to a white supremacist. It is backwards in logic and counterproductive.

  • VV

    Sounds like that award is merely something you can BUY

  • Chris Cooper
  • Urban League of Greater ATL

    The Urban League of Greater Atlanta has received questions and concerns about why Dan Cathy is among the awardees at this year’s annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner on Nov. 16. Cathy, President/CEO of the Chick fil A Foundation is receiving this year’s Community Empowerment Award. The Community Empowerment Award is presented to an organization that has made significant contributions to advance community empowerment. The Urban League of Greater Atlanta is awarding the Chick-fil-A Foundation and Cathy for the Foundation’s significant financial contributions that support programs that empower communities – including funding for a signature program that teaches inner city youth financial literacy and a local community food bank.

    We based the award on the following initiatives of the Foundation:

    1) The Chick-fil-A Foundation recently made a significant investment in the Foundation’s first major capital project, Junior Achievement’s Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center. It is designed to build financial literacy for Atlanta’s youth.

    · The need for financial literacy education is clear:

    •High school dropouts are three times more likely to live in poverty.

    •One-third of U.S. adults do not pay all their bills on time.

    •Nearly 40 percent of adults do not have any non-retirement savings.

    2) The Chick-fil-A Foundation invests in the Atlanta Community Food Bank

    Knowing children need nutrition to excel in school, the Foundation partners with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which provides food for food pantries, community kitchens, childcare centers, night shelters and senior centers. The Chick-fil-A Foundation has sponsored food drives, supplied volunteers and given financial donations.

    3) The Chick-fil-A Foundation supports Youth & Education Programs

    The programs support the Foundation’s youth and education projects: Mentoring high school students; bringing camps to financially disadvantaged neighborhoods; providing weekend meals for students in need; and sponsoring college scholarships.

    4) The Chick-fil-A Foundation supports Covenant House

    The Chick-fil-A Foundation provides financial support of Covenant House’s services to homeless, abandoned, trafficked and exploited youth. Covenant House offers educational programs that allow our youth to follow dreams.

    5) The Chick-fil-A Foundation supports Community Development Programs.

    6) The Chick-fil-A Foundation supports Raising Expectations

    Through providing transportation and financial donations, the Foundation supports Raising Expectations in their work to benefit the lives of Atlanta youth with their extensive services designed to develop participants’ academic, social and civic abilities.

    7) The Chick-fil-A Foundation supports Wellspring Living

    The Chick-fil-A Foundation has donated funds to help Wellspring Living expand their facilities to meet the growing need for their programs. The organization helps women who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation overcome their broken pasts and move toward hopeful futures.

    Please be assured that the Urban League of Greater Atlanta supports and works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. This includes the recent Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was passed out of the US Senate this week.

  • FENUXE Magazine

    It is Chik-fil-A and Dan Cathy’s “significant financial contributions” to anti-gay groups that have upset the LGBT community and led to a boycott. You’re lauding the very thing that the LGBT community is upset about. Sure, some of Chik-fil-A’s contributions go to great causes, but their money also goes to anti-gay groups.

    Additionally, your honoring him on a night where the theme is: “Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality.” How does Mr. Cathy champion justice and equality? His “significant financial contributions” work against justice and equality for the LGBT community!

  • Daniel English

    I am sure some of the greatest champions of hatred and intolerance had great programs that helped people. Yet, that didn’t excuse them of their actions against minorities. What you are doing is looking for a pass? Well by god you won’t get one if you side with this man. A man who has made dehumanizing remarks about gays and their relationships. Urban League of Greater Atlanta you ultimately just showed your true colors. It doesn’t matter if this man aided organizations that endangered the lives and cost the lives of innocent LGBT people. As long as the bottom line dollar gets met. Shameful, absolutely bloody shameful!!!

  • Heather Baker

    Well, somebody got paid off…

    I made this post earlier, and I stand by it.

    The reasons why I still won’t spend my money at Chick-fil-a: Anyone recall how much horror is going on in Uganda? Thank your favorite chicken sandwich and lemonade for the funding.

    I’m pretty sure food tastes way better without the hate in the recipe.

    You won’t catch my dollars in their bankroll when they fund more mass murder of innocent people in Uganda while they sit there and spend more money to MURDER more people.

    The CEO came out one morning and said he would no longer be funding anti-gay causes, then the next morning basically laughed and said “Nah, just kidding.”

    I won’t give my money to a lying, murdering asshole who thinks that just because he’s religious it gives him the right to not only judge but be jury and executioner for someone JUST because their sexuality makes him uncomfortable.

    This is why I get so disappointed when I see people with Chick-fil-a… it brings to my mind: “Who is that sandwich going to kill?”

  • BearEyes

    Congressman Lewis clearly deserves this award for a life of work dedicated to equality.
    Dan Cathy can’t hold a candle to John Lewis. As the Urban League pointed to several charitable contribution by the CFA foundation in these comments, those are not necessarily the same as Dan Cathy himself. Cathy has made it clear he is against full equality for the LGBT population with his stance against marriage equality and his financial contributions to anti-gay groups. To give an award for equality to someone who has not worked for equality and has a stated position against full equality completely devalues the award. John Lewis deserves better. Dan Cathy deserves to be shown the door.

  • Ben in Oakland

    And Did you know that Hitler was a vegetarian? that the catholic church not only feeds the poor but hides and protects known pedophiles? That ULGA gives a pass to people like Dan Cathy because of the good things they do?

    Cathy has stated that my marriage is a threat to civilization, a crime so heinous that god will punish millions of “innocent” people to expiate it.

    There are plenty of good people you could honor who don’t use their bibles as a weapon against others.

  • AdamK

    So it’s all about money. Enough money and your actual ethics just disappear.

    And the Urban League will gladly accept money from anybody, no questions asked. Love that money.

  • AdamK

    The Atlanta Urban League keeps an asterisk next to Justice and Equality*

    *Not applicable when it’s rich people’s money versus gay people.

  • candideinnc

    Hypocrites. Say it right: celebrate injustice and inequality.

  • Citywoof

    You have lost ALL credibility and tarnished your “prestigious” award. It is now a meaningless hunk of junk that is clearly for sale. Anyone can buy one with donations. The part about “Equality” means nothing anymore. Shame!

  • jk105

    How does someone get an “equality” award when he or she proudly promotes discrimination–in this case bigotry against gays? The Urban League has lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of justice.

  • Lula

    I suspect the Urban League of Greater ATL has awarded this honor to Cathy to lend him credibility, in his bigotry. Unbelievable, truly, regardless.

  • hdtex

    In other news, today Hitler was awarded the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction.

  • hdtex

    In other news, today Adolf Hitler was awarded the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction!

  • Wesley Cole

    Check out AND comment on the Urban League’s Facebook page. People are NOT holding back their comments and their outrage.

  • Wesley Cole


  • kansasrfl

    So basically they bought the award!

  • Mike B

    I call bullshite, the idiot is a Christainist tool

  • ZnSD

    The fact that you would honor a virulent homophobe completely discredits your claim that your organization “works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability.” If that were true, you wouldn’t honor someone who engenders hate and violence towards the lgbt community. You bring dishonor only upon yourselves and your organization by doing this; good luck finding your way out of this self-inflicted morass of morality. If you believe that his words didn’t bring harm to lgbt people of all ages, you’re not only mistaken, you’re completely out of touch with the reality of how marginalized people are treated in this world. Shame on you.

  • cleos_mom

    I grew up in Atlanta during the civil rights era of the 20th century and it’s painful to see the Urban League and other groups turn their backs on the 21st one. If the Urban League hasn’t got a slogan or advertising theme, may I suggest “I’ve got mine; you can go pound sand”.

    “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world — but for Chick-fil-A?”

  • cleos_mom

    With the emphasis on “versus gay people”. From people who you can bet know better and have no excuse.

  • Hangly Man

    are you a man who lays with other men?

  • Wesley Cole

    Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A have NOT made amends with me

  • DoktorDare

    Yeah and the food is garbage, anyway.

  • Adam

    gurl, keep it on craigslist.

  • Fenuxe Magazine


  • Daniel English

    I am sorry. I don’t respond to people without pictures on hookup websites. Why would I do so here? At least on those sites usually I see something hard. You can’t even offer me that. lol

  • customartist

    The Atlanta Urban League Sold their integrity on this one, and then they try to lie their way out of it.
    I’m sorely disappointed!

  • customartist

    Me neither – never will.

  • customartist

    It’s an “Equality Award” for Christ’s sake!

  • customartist


  • customartist

    “Oh no! It was COMPLETELY incidental!” (eyeroll)

  • customartist

    Of course that is what has transpired here.

  • customartist


  • customartist

    Atlanta Urban League
    Nancy Flake Johnson | President and CEO
    Direct phone: (404) 659-6575
    [email protected]

    Atlanta Urban League
    229 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 300
    Atlanta, GA 30303-1600

    Mr. Herman Andrews
    Mr. Gregg Barber
    Mr. John A. Berry
    Ms. Moanica Caston
    Dr. DeRetta Cole
    Stacy Cole
    Ms. Pamela Cross
    Dr. Joyce Dorsey
    Ms. Karen Brewer-Edwards
    Ms. Janicka A. Green
    Ms. Francey Hakes
    Atty. Kenneth B. Hodges, III
    Mr. Michael Johnson
    Mr. Matthew Levin
    Mr. Nick Nelson
    Ms. Gail Nutt
    Mr. Glenn Patton
    Mr. Mark Pitts
    Mr. Ernest W. Quarles
    Ms. Myra Reeves
    Mr. Daraka Satcher
    Dr. Jabari Simama
    Ms. Ciji Tatum
    Ms. Deborah A. Thomas
    Mr. Otis Threatt
    Mr. Carl A. Tims
    Ms. Charmaine Ward
    Mr. John Wirtz

  • disqus_3C3PY37JDn

    Because black people hate gays too.

  • logic

    I love there answer, it’s like yes, you absolutely are abandoning civil rights and equality. This is intentionally spitting in the gay communities eye, and it’s petty and obvious.

  • logic


  • Wesley Cole

    What is stated in the story on WSB TV Atlanta is HALF a story. What they left out is that he was given an award after giving money to the ULGA. The PROBLEM people are forgetting is what he did with the rest of the money which is donate to political people and Political PACS. Some of those PACs passed the money to causes in other countries that support murder and or imprisonment of gays and lesbians. THOSE are the reasons that he should also be remembered for and THOSE are the reason he should not have been given an award having to do with Equality or an Equality evening. A community Service award…fine but not the award he got. His donated money went for murder in other nations and in the U.S. he paid to block and take away rights…THAT does not deserve an award. The interview

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