December 2, 2011
How sad that this story continues and the school has not reversed course. Each night for the past three nights CNN's Anderson Cooper AC360 news show has made this a top story and has been giving it a lot of attention. Thank you Anderson for keeping this in the public domain. To view a clip of the story that appeared on AC360 the other night, click here.
The communications director of the school has made numerous on-air appearances continuing to support statements coming from the school. Does Connie McNamara, vice president of communications at Milton Hershey School really stand behind these statements each night, does she really believe in the words in these statements, and is she THAT uneducated about HIV/AIDS?!? Or, is she trying to keep a job? If I were her, I would do the right thing and resign my position immediately. I feel this fear goes deeper into the administration at Milton Hershey and those NOT in support of this decision have a moral duty to walk away, bring down the veil and reveal who the real fear mongers are at this school. It is time for Milton Hershey Trust Company to intervene in this matter!
I cannot believe the ignorance surrounding this story, and why the parents of these children of the school are not in support of this boy?!? Have we really fallen back 20+ years on AIDS education and awareness? I am mad and saddened. If I had the organizing power I would organize busloads of protestors to descend on the school and we would hold out for days, or weeks. If not to force the school to accept this student, but to stand in solidarity with this student as reminder that HIV/AIDS is still around 30 years later, and that this kind of discrimination today, especially in America cannot be tolerated.
I am further outraged that a school founded by The Hershey Co. in 1909 and financed by the Milton Hershey School Trust, which also holds the controlling interest in The Hershey Co. has yet to issue a statement or intervene in this matter. Below is part of the mission statement for The Hershey Co.:
At The Hershey Company, we make the chocolate brands that people love. Hershey's Mission Statement, Bringing sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world every day, summarizes our company, our people, our past and our future. Our history of producing the world's best treats goes back more than 100 years. We take great pride in our brands and in the fun and enjoyment our products add to the lives of our consumers.
Hershey has a distinguished record of supporting the well-being of children through our relationship with Milton Hershey School. The School was established by the company's founder in 1909 and provides a nurturing environment, quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in social and financial need. The School is administered by The Hershey Trust Company, Hershey's largest shareholder, making the students of Milton Hershey School direct beneficiaries of Hershey's success.
By denying this child access to the Milton Hershey School, Hershey Co. has gone 100 years back on its strong values, and distinguished record of supporting the well-being of children. Milton Hershey School and Hershey Co. have put the well-being of this child at risk, and the school and Hershey Co. should be held liable to the highest extent of the law. No longer will I think of Hershey as bringing sweet moments and happiness to the world every day. When I see a Hershey product it will bring me disgust and sadness. I will forever connect The Hershey Co. brand with this horrific display of ignorance.
I have started a petition on change.org asking people to sign and leave a comment, regarding boycotting the Hershey brand and supporting a statement directly from The Hershey Trust Company. Again, if I had the organizing power I would position protestors outside grocery stores throughout the country, asking shoppers to boycott Hershey products; especially during this holiday season.
I can only hope the community of Hershey, Pa., surrounding communities, the students and the parents of the school take a stand, by rising up to HIV, dismantle the ignorance that lies deep within this school's administration. As a PLWH and in solidarity with those around the world; we must and will continue to educate the public on the very minimal risks of contracting HIV/AIDS. I would immediately call on and ask The Hershey Trust Company to intervene and issue a statement on this matter.
In the interim I have compiled a list below of all Hershey products you may consider boycotting, and remember to sign the petition!
With sadness in my heart and with hope for a positive outcome,
Dagoba Organic Chocolate