Hello. My name is Tanya Fields, I am a single mother of four and Executive Director of The Black Project. I stand before you today to communicate the growing international concerns that have led to today’s resolution regarding how McDonald’s contributes to the global epidemic of diet-related disease. McDonald’s avoidance of meaningful change continues to put the health of millions of children like mine worldwide at risk, while also risking the investments of shareholders.
In the neighborhood in the Bronx where I live, food options are limited. My community is a food swamp, filled with corner stores and fast food, and lacking fruits and vegetables. In fact, there are three McDonald’s within walking distance of my home and McDonald’s is the biggest alligator in the swamp. But it is not simply the saturation of fast food that is the problem; it is also the deluge of fastfood marketing.
McDonald’s has long inundated children with marketing, seeking to hook kids on the brand at an early age and make them customers for life. Perhaps nowhere is McDonald’s predatory marketing more pervasive than in communities of color. Whether it’s Ronald McDonald in my children’s school or the gymnast Gabby Douglas on TV or your [demeaning] website 365Black.com, this targeted marketing is everywhere. It’s a recipe, Mr. Thompson, for disproportionate disease rates that my community and communities of color across the country can no longer stomach.
I’m doing all that I can to feed my children healthy food, and I’m tired of McDonald’s targeting my children–and my community–at every possible turn with marketing designed to undermine my choice. I’m here to tell you I’m not loving McDonald’s marketing to my kids.
As a growing movement of moms around the world call on the corporation to stop interfering in our children’s health, as health professionals continue to urge you to stop driving a global epidemic of diet-related disease, and as communities increasingly seek policy solutions to limit fastfood’s influence, I urge McDonald’s for genuine action to address these increasing concerns about McDonald’s unhealthy products and marketing practices. In closing, McDonald’s can mitigate its risk to shareholders and to the long-term sustainability of the corporation by accepting the resolution and assessing whether the scope and scale of the corporation’s response has kept pace with the growing movement demanding McDonald’s stop marketing to kids.