Subject: As an active Minority you must read!
People, The attached message is crucial. I hate to say it, but we can be our worst enemy. In the wake of all that we're trying to do to get our message across to state leaders, many bikers are still talking about attending the "bike week" at the beach. Come on people, what's up with that. They said they would not stay in hotels, but instead, they would camp out and cook their own food. Okay...I was a boy scout in an earlier life, but I can't see any of the typical African-American bikers pitching a tent and grilling hot dogs on a stick just to stay in line with the boycott. If they go, they will spend money in hotels, in restaurants, in liquor stores, in souvenir shops. But worst of all, it just tells all of our Jim Crow South Carolinians that young African Americans are still backwards on their priorities. It's really time out for these self destructive attitudes and mindsets. Take the rally to Va. Beach if it's that crucial! Peace!
Please send this out. I also want folks to consider spreading the word of the NAACP boycott (if you approve of course) to those folks you know that might be considering traveling to Myrtle Beach SC for Black Bike week. If we're against SC flying the confederate flag, then we must show support and not have our young adults flocking to Myrtle Beach and leaving all their money behind. Folks already believe that our young people don't care and treat the black community as a block of voters that are only to be considered when it comes to issues of affirmative action and welfare programs. We need to show America that we are conscious consumers and spend our dollars prudently. NAACP Sanctions Hurting S.C. With the Confederate flag still flying, corporations and groups are starting to move 2001, 2002 events By Hersch Doby
While the heated and ugly war over the flying of the Confederate flag continues, state officials admitted February 2 that the NAACP's sanctions are hurting the state's $7 billion tourism industry. A number of groups have canceled major events even as far in advance as 2002. The Gullah Festival has already canceled its annual Memorial Day festivities and the NCAA has threatened to move its Final Four regional basketball tournament from Greenville in 2002. Just last week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it was canceling all meetings scheduled for Charleston this year due to the NAACP boycott. At the South Carolina Governor's Convention on Tourism and Travel in Myrtle Beach this week, the mood has been one of concern and urgency, says Lou Fontana, spokesperson for the state's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department. Travel officials joined together in calling for the state legislature to remove the rebel flag from the statehouse dome. Recent polls showed 60% of state residents approved of the removal, with more than 90% of black residents agreeing that flag should be taken down. According to some estimates, the state has already lost nearly $10 million. Charleston and Myrtle Beach are still picking up from last year's hurricane season, while inland the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau reported a 15% loss of its expected business, or nearly $2.7 million.
President Clinton has even canceled his annual golf outing to Hilton Head Island. Seaside communities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach would normally be teeming with visitors and convention attendees. But hotels there are below capacity. They cannot survive if future trends continue, says Fontana. "Charleston is definitely hurting," says Helen Munnerlyn, spokesperson for the state Department of Commerce. "But there are many areas that are beginning to feel the crunch. Many corporations have rescheduled their events, and companies headquartered in the state have been very vocal about removing the flag. It's hurting business." Others, say state estimates do not accurately portray the lost revenue, among them Kweisi Mfume, president and
CEO of the NAACP. Pointing to organizations like Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the National Urban League and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which have moved their annual conventions to other states, Mfume said blacks are spending their dollars elsewhere,
and convincing their employers to do the same. Canceled family reunions and black alumni gatherings will extract an incalculable cost on the state, he said. According to NAACP estimates, the state is facing nearly $100 million in lost revenue. "Regrettably, [South Carolina] is just starting to react. This is very real and serious. The Confederate flag . .. is a symbol of hatred and bigotry, and it is offensive to African American people," Mfume said in a telephone interview. " That flag is going to be removed one way or another." But Fontana says the state is well aware of the impact of black tourists. Parks, Recreation and Tourism data says he nearly 2.1 million African American visitors to South Carolina in 1999, spent about $280 million in-state. Some places depend heavily on the black tourist dollar, Fontana says, which could mean layoffs and higher than usual unemployment rates in those areas. But Mfume said the sanction's duration is up to the governor and the legislature. "South Carolina cannot sustain economic sanctions, and it's up to [the legislature] to determine to what extent they are prepared to delay," he said. Mfume and National Urban League President and CEO Hugh B. Price led a Martin Luther King Day march on the statehouse to protest the flag. Over 46,000 came in support. Pro-flag advocates such as state senators Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) and John Courson (R-Columbia) have refused to budge. Both are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has been vocal about leaving the flag atop the statehouse. State Governor Jim Hodges has responded to the NAACP boycott in his State of the State address, calling for the quick removal of the flag. "Sanctions or no sanctions, we must move ahead and find a resolution to this debate," he said. According to Nina Brook, Hodges' press secretary, the governor is in favor of removing the flag and placing it elsewhere on the statehouse grounds. Brook says only the legislature can alter or move artifacts from the capitol. But Mfume said the NAACP would not compromise on the issue. He insists the flag be kept with other Civil War relics "under a glass case somewhere," because the statehouse grounds are maintained in part by black taxpayers' money.
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