Hopefully you won’t be surprised to learn that last week’s PD Note was an April Fool’s joke. We won’t be serving quail for lunch any time soon- unless you beg for it...
But in all seriousness, thank you for all the thoughtful emails and for speaking to me about the question of boycotting Chick-fil-A. We spent most of our March Executive Council meeting discussing this topic, and I met for nearly an hour last week with Todd Langston, the owner of the Wallingford Chick-fil-A franchise.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Members of our LGBTQ community, at least those who weighed in, are largely comfortable with our doing business with Chick-fil-A.
2. The Wallingford franchise is independently owned and operated. Mr. Langston opposes all forms of discrimination.
4. At the national level, Chick-fil-A supports worthwhile causes, including scholarships and food donations. It does not specifically earmark funds to oppose LGBTQ rights, although it has donated to organizations that have a history of opposing such rights.
5. Members of our community have expressed concern that boycotting the Wallingford Chick-fil-A could hurt the franchise and its employees without influencing the company’s policies at the national level.
6. Concerns were also expressed about how difficult it would be for us as a residency to thoroughly review the social and political activities of the many companies we do business with. Concern was also raised about the danger of taking an ad hoc approach to boycotting companies if we lack clear criteria or a consistent system for making such decisions.
7. There is a general belief that we should be open to boycotting companies with policies or practices that clearly conflict with our core values. For example, we would not buy birthday cakes from a company that refused to cater same sex weddings. Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis with input from stakeholders (as we did with Chick-fil-A). Members of the community are always welcome to raise concerns about companies we do business with.
In summary, we have reached consensus that we should continue doing business with our local Chick-fil-A franchise. In lieu of a boycott, I plan to write to the Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, to express concern about his donation choices and to encourage him to support LGBTQ rights. If any of you would like to join me in drafting this letter, please let me know.
Finally, Mr. Langston has graciously offered to cater a meal and meet with our residents to discuss these issues further. If any of you would like us to hold such an event, please let me know.
I’m grateful to the many of you who helped me think through this issue and for supporting our residency’s mission to promote social justice. Your wisdom, and your willingness to engage in thoughtful, respectful dialog, impress me to no end.
Please feel free to share additional thoughts and comments.
Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. I’m headed back to the MICU.