There is a lot of ruckus going on in the world right now. America’s foreign relations are all but shot thanks to Donald Trump, and it seems like every day, we run the risk of an attack happening on our soil. People are losing their lives over meaningless things, and the rich, as the cliché goes, is getting richer while the poor is getting poorer. We have a lot of work to do, and I for one am overwhelmed on a daily basis. Call me dramatic; call me extra, I just don’t have a good feeling. Nonetheless, doom and gloom aside, there is a silver lining in the midst of all the turmoil that is taking place in front of our eyes and under our noses. Protesters, activists and people tired of the bulls shit are making things happen.
The most recent shake up is Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, removing himself from Donald Trump’s business advisory council. Here’s why that’s such a big deal. He and other big wigs that align themselves with this administration are starting to understand that, we the people, mean business and their business will continue to suffer if they don’t learn to respect those who power their companies.
After Trump’s executive order last Friday that pretty much amounted to a ban on Muslims entering America, things started to move pretty quickly for the Uber exec, in a downward motion. He initially defended his “working relationship” with Trump, even telling his employees that it was necessary to carry out the company’s mission.
“We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets.”
However, after the public caught wind of his connection, boycotts and protests against the company began all over the country. Kalanick, in response to the backlash, even made a statement in which he seemingly “snitched” on other CEO’s of major companies who also sit on the advisory council. Now, after the #Deleteuber hashtag resulted in over 200,000 deleted Uber accounts, and since the company continues to lose money, (they reportedly lost more than $800,000,000 in the third quarter last year) Kalanick has seen the errors of his ways. He released this memo, obtained by CNN, to his employees yesterday,
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda, but unfortunately, it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas, and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.”
I firmly believe that customers taking a stand against Kalanick’s involvement with Trump’s council as well as the fact that Uber took advantage of the New York City Taxi Worker’s Alliance’s brief boycott last Saturday by tweeting that they had turned off surge pricing in an attempt to pick up the customers left stranded by the boycott, are the reasons for his change of heart. It goes to show that when it comes down to it, the only thing that people like Trump and Kalanick understand in today’s America is money. You mess with that, and you get their attention. Let us take note and act accordingly.
This notion is well-known within the black community. Countless activists have said time and time again that the way for black folks to get the change and equity we deserve, is by messing with white folks money. This rings true across all races. At this point, to get things done we have to think bigger than marches and sign holding. We can make a difference, and we cannot back down. Deliberate, strategic action is what’s going to win.
As Farhana Khera, the executive director of Muslim Advocates, said in a recent statement about Kalanick and his involvement with Trump’s council,
“Membership on this council is an endorsement of bigotry, period… the 18 other CEOs on this business council are still trying to have it both ways.”
Kalanick and the other CEOs on the council know this. His actions may be forced and even not the direction he wanted to go, but none of that matters. People got in his ass enough that he had to make a choice.
This is how we get things done. This is how we survive the next four years.