The fact that a couple of Nestle brands are sponsoring the BlogHer '10 conference really sucks.
I've written here already about my choice, my approach, and my reasons. Although I've taken one path in my activism, I also have a great deal of respect for people who have chosen other paths. Whether they are doing it for themselves, for their children, for their integrity, to pressure BlogHer, to send Nestle a message, or all of the above, I have a great deal of respect for those people who have chosen to boycott the BlogHer '10 conference due to the Nestle sponsorship.
Marie Stroughter, who was supposed to be one of my co-panelists on the Radical Moms panel feels so strongly about Nestle's unethical business practices that she chose to cancel her speaker's slot and will not be attending BlogHer '10. Marie is the co-founder of African-American Conservatives and blogs at Mamagraphy. She wrote a post Nestle, BlogHer and Why I Will Not Attend (Oh My!) detailing the history of her activism and her awareness of the Nestle issue. Here is an excerpt:
Nestle couldn’t care less about me. My attending or not attending isn’t going to affect anyone’s “bottom line.” But, I have to live with me. I have to look at myself in the mirror. I have to “walk the walk” before my children, and that’s why I get the “big girl panties.” So, yeah, easy decision. Ugly dilemma. I hope BlogHer will rethink this strategy (and not just “tiers” or “tracks” but out and out “no thank you, Nestle!”). I’d love it if Nestle would rethink their whole strategy, too. Tasty chocolate doesn’t make up for infant deaths.
Another blogger and writer who I have been following for a long time was planning to attend BlogHer for the first time this year. Jake Aryeh Marcus from Sustainable Mothering wrote Boycotting BlogHer Because I Boycott Nestle. Here is an excerpt from her post:
So when I read that a Nestle brand was going to be one of the eighty or so sponsors of BlogHer '10, I knew I had a problem. There was some behind the scenes posting about who was going to do what and whether BlogHer might do something. I thought that perhaps even if Nestle was going to be at the conference, perhaps they could sponsor a particular event I could avoid, rather than the entire conference. Just my impression, but I don't think BlogHer organizers cared less. Conference sponsorship for BlogHer is a "show me the money" enterprise. And from the discussions about previous conferences – samples, products, brands, stuff, stuff, stuff – I should have known that before I bought my ticket.
Heather from A Mama's Blog has been looking forward to attending BlogHer for years. She was planning to attend with our mutual friend Amy from Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Like me, Amy made the difficult decision to attend the conference, but Heather has decided against it. In her post BlogHer ’10, Nestle Sponsorship, & Integrity, Heather wrote:
Eating a chocolate chip cookie from a friend is different though, when faced with the knowledge the conference that I really want to attend is being paid for in part, by Nestle. Another dilemma I have is my conference tickets were wait-listed. BlogHer specifically said if they were able to get more sponsors, then more tickets would be available. Nestle was not listed as an original sponsor. It isn’t too far of a reach to conclude the reason I even got a ticket in part, is because of Nestle’s sponsorship.
I am frustrated that BlogHer would even consider, let alone accept Nestle as a sponsor. I accept advertising for my blog through BlogHer, but I have specifically opted out of accepting any formula companies, such as Nestle. BlogHer is aware of the boycott and the issues surrounding Nestle. I would have rather not received a wait-listed ticket, and not have been able to attend the conference, than attend with this now black cloud of controversy surrounding it.
It bothers me BlogHer, which supports women in so many aspects, accepted Nestle as a sponsor, when their business practices hurt so many women and their children, especially the most vulnerable in developing countries.
I hope that you will go and read their posts and support their decision, as so many of you have supported mine. There will be more to come on my blog about this issue over the next few weeks as the conference approaches, including the final list of charities I have decided to support.