Almost 200 years ago, a small group of passionate English women helped abolish slavery in British possessions by starting a sugar boycott. You can read about this social activism in Adam Hochschild's great book "Bury the Chains." Hochschild
I think about this as I think about our gun crisis in America and the silence of corporations. In an era where we are bludgeoned with the notion that brands ought to engage with us in conversations, brands are silent about the issues of the day. Gun control, I believe, is one of those central issues.
What would happen, I wonder, if Apple ran an open letter to Congess? If Verizon, AT&T, IBM, Exxon/Mobil, General Motors and a few others joined in?
Sure, they might alienate some of their customers.
They might lose some business.
They might depress their stock prices.
They might even be harassed by the same Congress they wrote to.
But more than 20 children were shot multiple times by an assault rifle in Connecticut just a few weeks ago. And every four years, a Vietnam's worth of people die at the hands of guns.
Where are the voices of corporations (people, according to the tax code) who are such a big part of our lives?
What is their responsibility?
What is ours? As people, ostensibly of influence over our clients, over the giant corporations that are so important in our nation?
Surely, it must be more than silence.