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.”