Saturday, March 17, 2007

Have we gotten under Kmart's skin?

Well, last I posted, we were still waiting for an answer from Kmart about their willingness to help prevent domestic violence. Apparently it's something that's taking them quite a bit of time to think over. We did receive a call last week from Kim Feeley -- the one who initially informed us, in essence, that our request might offend some of the shoppers they were trying to appeal to. I guess the batterers’ demographic is the one they are hoping to attract. In her phone call she asked that we remove the petition to Alwyn Lewis the CEO of their parent company, Sears Holdings. We know that they've gotten at least 350 petition signatures faxed to them and I guess it's irritating to be getting them when they claim they've removed the t-shirts from the shelves. We could declare victory but we're in this for a bigger reward -- one that could make a difference for the one in four people in this country who are victims of domestic violence. We assured Ms. Feeley that we would take the petitions down when we received some confirmation in writing that they had in fact removed the shirt. Not that we don't want to believe what they say but we would like an answer to our initial letter and our follow-up letter and we really like the certainty of words on a page as opposed to those over the phone.

We did receive an emailed response -- actually a pitiful response, but one nonetheless that they said they sent to store managers. So, true to our word, we've removed the petition...but we've replaced it with another that asks for a response to our request that they take a leadership role as a corporation and partner with local dv and sexual assault programs in the towns in which they have stores. We've faxed them a letter with a request for their response and we've called and left a message for Mr. Lewis.

In the meantime, victims are living in fear and suffering needlessly. We can change the cultural acceptance of violence against women and children but it will take each of us doing our part. Feel free to download the petition and fax it to Mr. Lewis yourselves. We know it worked on getting them to pull the shirts.

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