Project 21 Press Release: Black Leadership Network Urges NASCAR to Sever Ties with Jesse Jackson: Critics Fear Jackson is Stirring Racial Animosity for Profit – June 2003

Project 21 has joined a campaign begun by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) to urge NASCAR to stand up to what appear to be intimidation tactics employed by Jesse Jackson and fight an apparent corporate shakedown.

Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 are calling upon NASCAR to sever its financial ties to Jackson.

A board member of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition publicly implied June 24 that the NASCAR auto racing organization is racist.

NASCAR reportedly has given over $250,000 to Jackson’s groups in recent years. After criticism by Jackson that the sport does not do enough to attract minorities, NASCAR officials also embarked on a targeted publicity campaign and now have a “mandated sensitivity program” for its employees. Despite this, at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition annual conference in Chicago on June 24, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition board member Bill Shack called NASCAR and other auto racing organizations “the last bastion of white supremacy” in professional sports. Referring to attempts to increase minority participation, he said these organizations “don’t particularly want you out there.”

Peter Flaherty, president of the NLPC, recently told “NASCAR is finding out the hard way that appeasing Jesse Jackson doesn’t work. The more you give, the more he demands.”

“It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how much you give to Jackson, you will only invite more hostility,” adds Project 21 member Kimani Jefferson. “In my view, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Jesse Jackson are interested in nothing more than perpetrating a cult of victimization for profit.”

Earlier in the week, the Chicago chapter of the Amer-I-Can Program – an inner city and prison-focused self esteem-building organization founded by NFL Hall of Fame runningback Jim Brown – protested against Jesse Jackson and his alleged corporate intimidation tactics outside of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition conference. Protestor Harold Davis complained to that Jackson “is a shakedown artist and nobody holds him accountable.”

Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at


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