Time to Shine a Light on Perpetrators of Ugly Political Climate


OpEd By Barrington Salmon
As the legal battle continues over President Trump’s executive order barring citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, his allies on the far right have become increasingly emboldened about driving their insensitive and some say “bigoted” agenda.

It is a situation that poses a threat to communities of color around the country – as well as a stark reminder of the work we must continue to do to fight against discrimination, no matter how or where it rears its head.

We can start by shining a light on a loose network of individuals and groups reportedly responsible for the ugly political climate that has enabled President Trump to target people with a wholly un-American policy that amounts to a ban on Muslims.

Case in point: the LA Times and NewsOne have both reported regarding the work of a North Carolina non-profit, Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC) that casts itself as a “catalyst for charitable good” that is “dedicated to the collective strength of communities.” But that is not the whole story behind the Foundation for the Carolinas. What the group conveniently neglects is that it has also been the source of an alarming amount of funding for this network of hate.

According to the LA Times, the foundation has quietly become one of the top supporters of the groups fueling the acrimonious and dangerous debate playing out nationally over immigration policy. Over the last decade, the foundation has spent a staggering $20 million to fund this network of extreme anti-immigration groups, according to its tax records. For example, just in 2015, Numbers USA, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce U.S. immigration levels, received $3 million from the Foundation.

The foundation’s activities dovetail with the far right anti-immigration agenda of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior presidential advisor Steve Bannon. They have already put in motion a plan to help Trump significantly lower the number of immigrants coming to the U.S.

We see daily the impact of the rhetoric these groups employ. These groups divide, rather than unite, us. The values they champion are at odds with the principles and ideals that have made our nation a place where people of different colors, nationalities and creeds coexist.

Now that there has been news of the FFTC’s work to support the sponsors of hate, the FFTC has sought to distance itself from these donations.  We all know the importance of money to drive these efforts.  It’s time that the FFTC put its money where its mouth is and work to leverage the collective strength of our communities rather than sow division.   

I urge you to take a few minutes and read these stories and join the effort to stop forces of discrimination that FFTC is helping unleash.  Consider calling  the Foundation for the Carolinas, attending their annual meeting  later today in Charlotte or reaching out to one of these corporate sponsors and tell them to stop supporting an organization that sponsors hate. 

As these dark forces continue to drive their agenda with the support of a sympathetic Administration in Washington, our voices and work are critical.

Barrington Salmon is a freelance journalist, specializing in political and immigration policy issues pertaining to people of color. He has published in USA Today, Voice of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Trice Edney News Wire.