WASHINGTON — A group of public figures including Gloria Steinem, Mike Huckabee and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are urging Americans to boycott the Thanksgiving Day holiday because they believe its mass gathering of millions of people on the biggest religious holiday of the year promotes “tribalism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, bigotry, and genocide.”
They say in the open letter that “America has spent so many years ‘riding the hill’ of progress” that there are members of Congress who “continue to march the Country backwards, increasingly alienated from each other and increasingly unable to unite the People for good.”
So unless their November request are answered, they say, “Then boycotting is the last recourse.”
Their plea is part of a broader online campaign that includes links to several of the participants’ personal websites that tell readers not to shop, vote or have any other interactions with companies that have participated in the holiday, or who carry the fact that turkeys were raised on factory farms, or that their cookies come from factories.
One question is being left unanswered by the letter’s adherents: If the majority of Americans are served a turkey by turkey farmers, as a group that raised American turkeys have been since they were domesticated, why boycott?
Other recommendations include boycotting the Grand Ole Opry and the country music radio station KYGO.
Mike Huckabee told The New York Times he was “hypnotized” by the image of a butcher’s knife and joined the campaign after dinner with former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former secretaries of state James Baker and Condoleezza Rice.
“Think about the idea that we would celebrate an event on the biggest religious day of the year that celebrates genocide and white supremacy,” Huckabee told the newspaper. “It’s hypocritical. It’s wrong.”
The organizers say their letter is the result of taking a closer look at what their suggestions are for change.
Dozens of other activists have written letters and contacted their representatives as part of a “Push Back” movement, arguing that these practices contribute to national insecurity. Some have taken up the fight using crowdsourcing tactics to issue statements and rally their colleagues to support the idea of boycotting American traditions.
The Food Integrity Campaign, one group involved in the campaign, had thousands of participants sign a petition asking that Georgia be fined for what they say is a lack of food safety regulations and high levels of contamination of vegetables.
A full list of organizers and signatories of the letter can be found here.