Volume 4 Issue 1
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Congressional Black Caucus says that it has been "the
the Congress since 1969."
that is in fact the case, why then is the caucus not taking
leadership role on major progressive issues of the day?
like the vast majority of members of Congress, the caucus
been bought off by the corporate commercial interests?
isn't the caucus taking a leadership role on moving the country
toward a solar economy?
it be because oil and auto companies like BP Amoco, Chevron,
Mobil, Shell Oil, Texaco, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, and
Chrysler give big bucks to the Congressional Black Caucus
isn't the black caucus speaking out against the tobacco, junk
and alcohol companies that prey on the nation's young and
it be because Anheuser Busch, Heineken USA, Miller Brewing
Company, PepsiCo, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Coca-Cola
dollars to the foundation -- and Ms. Tina Walls of the Miller
Company sits on the board of the foundation?
wondered why the caucus has been silent on these issues, but
really looked into it, until earlier this week, when the following
came to our attention:
Congressional Black Caucus and Heineken USA hold a news conference
to announce the creation of the Louis Stokes Health Policy
Program to address issues contributing to the consistent gap
status between people of color and the majority population.
Jones (212) 686 5300."
we called Ruthie Jones, who is a spokesperson for Heineken
is friendly and talkative.
a $250,000 grant over five years, she says.
wanted to know how it could be that Heineken, a major alcohol
company, was sponsoring a health fellowship.
alcoholism a major cause of disease in the African American
becomes less friendly and less talkative.
have someone get back to you, she says.
thereafter, we got a call from Aranthan Jones, who works for
Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christensen, D-VI, who spearheaded
Heineken health fellowship.
CBC, with Heineken's help, is sounding the alarm and aggressively
pursuing proactive solutions to address the healthcare crisis
exists in America today," the Congresswoman said in the
we asked Jones, will the Heineken fellows look at the possibility
pursuing federal policies to curb alcohol use in the black
know, he says.
listen -- Heineken is a good corporate citizen, he says.
have built health clinics throughout Africa next to their
plants, to take care of the people there.
why was nothing said in the Heineken/CBC press release about
ravages of alcoholism?
answer to that. But listen, he says -- Heineken has great
penetration in our communities. We can't bring back prohibition,
Jones sees nothing wrong the caucus taking big money from
the way of the world these days, he says.
then ring up Reverend Jesse Brown.
Brown runs the National Association of African Americans for
Positive Imagery in Philadelphia (www.naaapi.org).
has been battling tobacco and alcohol industry in the black
for 12 years.
appears that the alcohol industry has taken a page from the
of the tobacco industry and is attempting to buy the silence
legislators," Reverend Brown says. "Black legislators
were deathly quiet
on the impact of tobacco on the black community. Now, it appears
the alcohol industry wants these black legislators to remain
and blind about the toll that alcohol takes on the black community.
also appears that the industry's agenda on health is to deliberately
downplay the health effects caused by alcoholism that is having
extreme effect in the black community -- cirrhosis of the
liver and the
need for liver transplants in the black community, pancreatic
esophageal cancers created by the use of alcohol."
are disproportionately burdened with the effects of alcohol,"
says. "It shows up in other ways too. Relationships between
women, spousal abuse issues. Many of the crime issues are
exacerbated by alcohol."
the years, Reverend Brown has attended the Congressional Black
Caucus Foundation events in Washington, D.C.
the years, to no avail, he has implored the caucus not to
tobacco and alcohol ads at their events.
have asked them to take a much more active stand on the issue
targeting of black youth by the alcohol and tobacco companies,"
of a strong public health movement, tobacco ads are coming
off of billboards.
Reverend Brown says that in his community, they are being
by ads for alcohol.
Brown has been fighting for years against the alcohol industry,
especially against the high octane content of malt liquors.
gotten only the silent treatment from the Corporate Black
for a revolt.
Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate
Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits
Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press;
Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
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