“We got involved in this lawsuit to help protect small-business owners,” says the Hispanic Federation president.
Two prominent civil rights organizations, the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, have teamed to fight New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s impending restrictions on sodas and sugary drinks above 16 ounces, the NY Daily News reported.
Beverage industry lawyers argued in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan this week, with many of the arguments drafted on behalf of the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation by Coca-Cola’s law firm, King & Spalding.
While both companies have received donations over the years from Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. and Hispanic Federation’s former President Lillian Lopez took a job at Coca-Cola after leaving the civil rights group, Hispanic Federation President Jose Calderon told the NY Daily News those connections weren’t behind to their decision to join the fight.
“We got involved in this lawsuit to help protect small-business owners concerned about being unduly hurt and put at a competitive disadvantage by this law,” he said. “We accept donations and contributions from a lot of corporations. It’s part of the work that we do to make partnerships.”
“Are we as a society were going to tell Americans that they should not ever drink sodas or eat chocolate?” Calderon added. “Are we going to ban those products from public consumption? How realistic is that? If we’re not going to do that as a city, state or nation (and no one that I know is proposing that), then engaging and educating (not dictating to) families and communities about healthy eating and having a balanced diet makes sense.”
If Coke, Pepsi, the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation don’t win in court, the law limiting the sale of large sodas should go into effect in March.