CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Publix is changing its policy and is suspending political contributions amid a “die-in” at several South Florida Publix stores, organized by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting survivor turned activist David Hogg.
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain, announced its decision just as “die-in’s” were taking place at their Parkland location and a few others in protest of the company’s financial support for NRA supporter and gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam.
This is the statement released by Publix on Friday.
“At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues. We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers. We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve. As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes. “
Earlier this week, the company had suggested future political donations might be handled differently, saying that “We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate.”
The lead organizer of the demonstration was inside the Parkland location at 4pm.
“Everybody get down for 12 minutes starting right now,” shouted Hogg as he and his supporters staged a “die-in”, just blocks from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
“Where politicians get money from the NRA, when Adam Putnam takes 670 thousand dollars from Publix supermarkets, we call BS,” said Hogg.
The former U.S. representative recently described himself as a proud National Rifle Association supporter and he has a top rating from the group.
While sprawled out on the floor near the produce aisle, Hogg read the names of each person killed in the February 14 massacre. Students who took part remembered their friends who were murdered.
“I’m going to think about every life lost. Parkland Pulse, Santa Fe, every single mass shooting,” said student Caspen Becher. “I think since Pulse there is 780, it’s too many. Way too many.”
The Parkland students weren’t the only ones rallying.
“Trump, Trump,” yelled a Trump and NRA supporter. “What are you going to stop next, Winn Dixie? Get out of here.”
Trump and NRA supporters crowded into the store as well, saying the protest against Putnam, Publix and the NRA is not fair.
“I’m a constitutionalist. I think this is ridiculous. Three-percent of child homicides happen in schools, 97-percent happen somewhere else. Why aren’t they talking about that,” said Nicholas Acocella.
Prior to the 4pm ‘die-in”, which lasted 12 minutes, Hogg and a few of his supporters outlined 17 bodies in chalk in the store’s parking lot before dawn. One for each of the 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day massacre. They also did their own take on Publix’s slogan and wrote “Where Shooting is a Pleasure.”
Actually, they drew the outlines twice because the rain washed away the first set.
After participating in the protest, Diego Pfeiffer, a senior at the high school, tweeted that Publix’s suspension is “proof that peaceful protest really works.”
— Diego Pfeiffer #NEVERAGAIN (@firepfeiffer1) May 25, 2018