Walmart’s Offensive ‘Jail’ Fundraiser Draws Criticism From Customers and BLM Activists
A fundraiser at a Walmart in Providence, Rhode Island has customers and Black Lives Matter activists in an uproar.
The fundraiser featured a Black employee in a cage asking for “bail” money to contribute to the Hasbro Children’s Miracle Network, the Providence Journal reports. After a picture circulated on social media, critics–including the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee—demanded the retail store take accountability for the “demeaning” display.
This “fundraising” campaign was shared with me this evening. I’m perplexed. This is WILD. pic.twitter.com/xpDfCxIkco
— Angela B. Ankoma (@ankoma_b) June 22, 2023
The image was initially captured by Walmart customer Angela Boateng, who said she was taken aback when she saw the display.
“I just did not understand what was happening, but I was mortified,” Boateng told The Providence Journal. “And as I went closer to read what was on the cage, I don’t know really what came over me. I was just deeply offended.”
Angela Ankoma, leader of the Rhode Island Foundation Equity Leadership Initiative, posted the picture on Twitter, calling it “wild.”
Walmart said locations participating in the fundraiser encouraged store employees to come up with a creative way to engage with customers to raise money. Walmart spokesman Joe Pennington said this was not the way to do it.
“The ‘jail’ fundraiser goes against company policy and should never be used,” Pennington told The Providence Journal, according to NewsOne. “We are reinforcing this with our stores in the area, and this display has been removed from our Providence location.”
The Providence branch of the NAACP is also upset.
“Images of Black people in cages represent a long, dark history in this country,” Gerald Catala, president of the branch, said. “Walmart should apologize and recognize that this is insulting and hurtful to Blacks, which is a large sector of their customer base at that particular Walmart.”
Hasbro Children’s Miracle Network said it was unaware of the fundraiser and has said it will work with the local store to identify other fundraising alternatives in the future.