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Friday, June 23, 2006

Jesse Jackson Leads Protest Against British Petroleum

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rev Al Sharpton and other ministers have initiated a nationwide protest against British Petroleum (BP). In addition to objecting to the high prices charged for gasoline, Jackson et al., also cite discriminatory practices by the company: BP has 800 distributorships in the U.S., but not a single African American distributor. Fewer than 20 of its 13,000 retail stations in the United States are owned by blacks. Two members of the company's board of directors are black.

Jackson also notes in the Rainbow/Push press release that the oil industry made nearly $100 billion in profits in 2005. BP made windfall profits of $5.3 billion in the first quarter of this year. It does $16 billion in procurement but less than one-third of one percent with African American businesses. It has few African American senior executives. BP is being targeted, according to Jackson, because it has the largest share of the African American market, yet its pattern of discrimination amounts to a virtual lock out of African American businesses.

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