Activists To Protest Target In Uptown Tomorrow

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Aug 13, 2010 3:40PM

2010_08_13_targetprotest.jpg Though a few weeks have already passed since news first spread of Target's controversial $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a pro-business group that also happens to support anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the calls for a boycott from LGBT and other groups are still going strong. Tomorrow, as part of a national day of protest against the retail giant, activists in Chicago have planned a demonstration at the newly opened Wilson Yard location in Uptown at 11 a.m.

In response to the still growing criticism of Target, CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued an apology to Target employees last week indicating the MN Forward contribution was made "to support economic growth and job creation." Steinhafel further stated he would begin a strategic review of decision-making policies regarding future political donations.

But Steinhafel's apology has fallen short of the hopes of many activists, indicating Target's PR crisis won't be going away anytime soon. Leading LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is reportedly in talks with the retailer to balance the scale by making a $150,000 donation to a pro-gay cause. If Steinhafel does not follow course, new construction projects in San Francisco and other markets with large LGBT populations seem troubled.

"Target's apology is welcomed but without tangible action behind it, the LGBT community and our allies will continue to question the company's commitment to equality," said HRC president Joe Solomonese in a statement. "Target can still make it right by making equivalent contributions to equality-minded organizations and by making clear the procedure by which they will evaluate potential contributions in the future to include issues of LGBT equality.”

According to some market analysts, Target's donation to MN Forward has already cost the company an estimated $1.3 billion in market capitalization and its stock price has dropped 3.5% since the furor began late last month.