I’m writing with a simple message: Thank you for speaking out. Your voice matters.
I was proud to join local leaders at Colorado People’s Alliance, a member organization of People’s Action, this week to attend Disney’s annual shareholders meeting. We delivered more than 511,000 petition signatures from People’s Action members and our allies calling on Disney CEO Bob Iger to quit Trump’s business council.
I spoke to Bob Iger personally in front of hundreds of people. I told him that I am immigrant from Iran. I told him that I moved here as a child and that Disney movies shaped my sense of this country and its values. And I told him how the Muslim ban affects my community and how Trump’s agenda of hatred runs counter Disney’s stated values of “equality, inclusion and fairness.”
I also spoke to members of Disney’s board, which includes corporate executives from Facebook, Twitter, Potbelly, and other big corporations.
My exchange with Bob Iger was reported on by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, and other major news outlets. (You can see a few news clips below along with photos of the event.)
More important still, People’s Action and our allies defined the story around The Walt Disney Company’s biggest event of the year. We sent a clear message: corporations can stand with our families or they can stand with an administration that is bound and determined to attack us at every turn. They can’t do both.
Mr. Iger and his board heard our message loud and clear, yet he refused to step down from Trump’s Economic Council. For now. So we will continue to resist, we will continue to boycott, we will continue to confront anyone who is complicit in Trump’s agenda.
Thank you for speaking truth to power.
Want to support our work? People’s Action builds powerful grassroots organization around the country and puts people into action for change. We are committed to fight for our shared values. Together we can create a world where we all have what we need to thrive, achieve, and feel our full worth at home, at work, and in our communities. These are unprecedented times. Let’s make history.
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New York Times, “Disney Chief: My Role on a Trump Panel Is ‘Not an Endorsement,’” March 8, 2017:
“The question is about endorsement,” said Mehrdad Azemun, from Chicago, echoing two others who had spoken. “By staying on the economic council it looks like you are tacitly endorsing Trump’s policies,” added Mr. Azemun, who identified himself as Iranian-American.
Los Angeles Times, “Disney’s annual meeting in Denver takes a political turn,” March 8, 2017:
During the meeting, Mehrdad Azemun of Chicago had taken to the microphone to tell Iger that as an immigrant from Iran who “grew up in the U.S. being raised on Disney,” he felt that the CEO’s participation on the council ran counter to the company’s values.
“As an Iranian-American, I am angry about Trump’s Muslim ban … it directly affects my extended family,” said Azemun, a shareholder proxy who is a community organizer with People’s Action, a group that advocates for economic equality.
Bloomberg, “Iger Defends His Position on Trump’s Advisory Council,” March 8, 2017:
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said he plans to stay on a presidential advisory panel after activists at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday asked him to step down from the position. A representative of the Colorado People’s Alliance told Iger, 66, that his presence on the panel made it seem like he was endorsing President Donald Trump’s agenda…The questions were the most politically charged at a Disney annual meeting in recent memory.
(Photo Credit: Tony Gallagher Photography)