Letter from Reverend Jesse Brown to RJ Reynolds

Publisher Name: 
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church

Sent approximately February 6, 1997 -- giving them 30 days to withdraw the
product. As a result, RJ Reynolds met with Rev. Brown and NAAAPI. The issue is still under debate.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church

3006 West Diamond Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19121-1110

215-235-7542

Dear RJ Reynolds:

I am writing to you as a Lutheran minister of two congregations in North
Philadelphia, as a father of four teenage children, and as one of the African
American community leaders who successfully fought the introduction of Uptown
cigarettes in 1991. I am extremely upset about your company's continued
efforts to target the African American community with products of death. The
recent decision by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to market a new
mentholated version of Camel cigarettes is unconscionable. That is why the
National Association of African Americans for Positive Imagery, which I serve
as one of its founders, has launched a national crusade against this new
brand.

On February 1, 1997, I stood as one of four religious leaders representing
different Christian denominations at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Chicago to
protest their sale of Camel menthols. A few hours later, another group
gathered in Los Angles at a 7-Eleven convenience store to urge that store
owner to take Camel menthols off his store shelves -- and he did. The crusade
against Camel menthols is growing daily and gaining strength as people
throughout the country marshal resources to protect children from the
rebellious lure of Smooth Joe and his camel buddies, playing pool, blowing on
his saxophone, joyriding on the highway, and, of course, smoking Camel
cigarettes.

Seven years ago, your company made the wise and correct decision in
withdrawing Uptown from the market in the face of sustained and strong
community opposition to its introduction. I am asking you to act in the
public interest once again by voluntarily withdrawing Camel menthols from the
market and ending the advertising campaign that supports it within the next 30
days. In making this request, I know that I speak for millions who feel as I
do.

The specific date that the Say No to Menthol Joe Community Crusade has set for
the total withdrawal of Camel menthols is Thursday, March 6, 1997. Failure to
meet this deadline will lead to an escalation of protests against the R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Company, RJR-Nabisco, Inc., retail establishments that sell
your company's products, and advertisers that promote the sales of Camel
menthols. Those protests will continue in communities throughout the entire
United States until the goal of removing Camel menthols from the marketplace
is achieved.

I trust that you will act in the best interests of children in this country
and throughout the world in making your decision.

To God Be The Glory,

Jesse W. Brown, Jr.

AMP Section Name:Tobacco
  • 109 Tobacco