The DON’T BE McFOOLED Black Elected Officials Campaign Launched at The Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials 2021 Mid-Winter Conference (Jackson, Miss.) – At the Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials 2021 Mid-Winter Conference in Jackson, Mississippi, on Monday, March 29th, the Byrd Brothers, Darrell and James F. Byrd Jr., Class Representatives BYRD ET AL v MCDONALD’S ET AL and Kahari S. Nash, a representative of the Byrd Brothers, explained McDonald’s Systematic Racism ongoing with their current and former Black franchisees to Black suppliers to Black owned media companies to HBCUs to Black organizations and Black causes to past and present leaders of the Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (MBC-LEO), business leaders and clergy.
The lawsuits allege that McDonald’s forces Black franchisees to operate in neighborhoods White franchisees refuse to go. Black franchisees are steered into inner-city stores destine to fail because of low-volume sales and high operating costs. The tragic result is profit shortfalls or losses that ruin a franchisees’ ability to grow and acquire other stores.
“This is a vicious cycle that McDonald’s has perfected,” said Kahari S. Nash, a representative of the Byrd Brothers, the current franchisees leading the federal discrimination class action. “Black franchisees are recruited to run stores where their chance of survival is slim. Once they fail, McDonald’s retains the store and simply finds another willing Black face.”
The roadblocks established by McDonald’s have done irreparable harm to the Black franchisees. “What kind of business model exploits people who dedicate their professional lives to the Golden Arches,” asked Kahari S. Nash, a representative of the Byrd Brothers, the current franchisees leading the federal discrimination class action.
Black customers make up nearly 30 percent of the fast-food giant’s sales. “Black patrons are keeping McDonald’s profitable, but there are only 186 Black franchisees out of 1,608. Something is not right,” said Kahari S. Nash, a representative of the Byrd Brothers, the current franchisees leading the federal discrimination class action.
Wallace “Gator” Bradley, president and founder United In Peace Inc. added that “McDonald’s needs to explain why the number of Black franchisees has plummeted from nearly 400 in 1998 to only 186 today.”
Reverend Dr. Nathaniel Christian, Pastor of the Durant Missionary Baptist Church (Durant, Mississippi), believes that only wholesale change from the McDonald’s C-Suite can bring about real change. “If the leadership does not step up, settle these lawsuits and level the playing field, then I don’t know why a Black patron should ever step foot in a McDonald’s again.”
Business leader Ed Cheshire, a longtime wholesale food supplier, said that he’s “Appalled that an American company with McDonald’s brand equity would risk its good name by continuing to give its Black partners the short end of the stick. It defies belief,” he said.
Rob Neal, founder & president of the International Black Broadcasters Association (IBBA) said it is not surprising these lawsuits have garnered national and international media coverage. “In the age of George Floyd, every public and private entity needs to look in the mirror and commit to a racial awakening. McDonald’s – for some inexplicable reason – is doing the opposite by fighting these lawsuits.”
The consensus of this distinguished group of Black locally elected officials appealed to McDonald’s to settle this slew of lawsuits brought forward by its Black employee and Black franchisees, both former and current, and to implement the programmatic changes outlined below, that were very carefully articulated by the Byrd Brothers and Kahari S. Nash.
Create a minority franchisee fund ($500M – $1B) managed by minority-owned financial institutions
Re-Grow the Black Franchisees from today’s low of 186 to the 1998 high of 377 and on par with the Black Customers representing 30% of McDonald’s Gross Sales.
Ensure fairness in franchisee agreements.
Restore the 42 Black executive positions lost between CEOs Don Thompson and Steve Easterbrook.
Increase minority suppliers.
Provide equitable increases based on consumer sales (Black Customers Equal 30% McDonald’s Gross Sales) in marketing and advertising budgets and engagements with Black Owned Marketing & Advertising Firms based on the 4% Advertising Fee (2% National & 2% Local Co-Op) charged to the Franchisees.
Provide equitable philanthropic contributions to HBCUs, minority causes and organizations.
The next stop on the DON’T BE McFOOLED Awareness Campaign Tour will be McDonald’s Atlanta Regional Headquarters, 1 Glenlake Parkway, Suite 500, Atlanta, Georgia 30328, on April Fools’ Day, Thursday, April 1st, from 11:00am – 12:30pm EDT. After Atlanta, the team will be organizing a town hall meeting in Greenville, Mississippi, where the largest McDonald’s franchisee in America calls home and headquarters to his 110 franchises. The Byrd Brothers, Darrell and James F. Byrd Jr., will be calling on their Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother, Greenville Mayor Eric D. Simmons, to give them the key to the city to unlock McDonald’s systematic racism in the Mississippi Delta with DON’T BE McFOOLED. “I am honored to be from Mound Bayou “Jewel of the Delta”, Mississippi, the oldest Black town in America and deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta and the Civil Rights Movement. Therefore, my question to McDonald’s is why isn’t there a Black McDonald’s franchisee in the Mississippi Delta, where almost 33.3% of Mississippi’s Black population lives?,” asked Kahari S. Nash, a representative of the Byrd Brothers, the current franchisees leading the federal discrimination class action. “With the George Floyd trial happening now, we need to remember why this is so important because in 1955 Emmet Till was murdered in Money, Tallahatchie County, the Mississippi Delta, and his two White murders were found not guilty by an All-White jury. During the Emmet Till trial, Mamie Till stayed in Mound Bayou under armed security at Dr. T. R. M. Howard’s home and was escorted under armed security to and from the courthouse in Sumner, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. Emmet Till’s murder sparked the Civil Rights Movement in 1955, George Floyd’s murder sparked the Black Lives Movement in 2020 and the Byrd Brothers’s federal racial discrimination class action lawsuit against McDonald’s systematic racism sparked the DON’T BE McFOOLED Movement in 2021.”
The 100 HBCU Awareness Campaign Launch is being organized in Nashville, Tennessee, which has the highest cash flow gap of $140,000 per store between Black McDonald’s franchisees and White McDonald’s franchisees, to educate the students and faculty at Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Baptist University on Thursday, April 22nd.
These educational awareness protest campaigns will continue throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois and across America so that Black community WON’T BE McFOOLED any longer by the false narrative McDonald’s has masterfully created and promoted through 365 Black: Black & Positively Golden; which if McDonald’s does not DO THE RIGHT THING by its Black employees, Black franchisees (current and former) and Black community shall become a nationwide boycott, 365 BLACK 365 NO MACK.
The DON’T BE McFOOLED Black Elected Officials Campaign Launched at The Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials 2021 Mid-Winter Conference