Black Activists Reject Trader Joe’s: Might Attract ‘Non-Blacks’


by Marilyn Assenheim

When FLOTUS isn’t indulging in up-market vacations on the public’s dime, feeding her dogs on crystal and china or droning on about America’s “inherent racism,” it seems that she is vilifying big business for its lack of investment in minority neighborhoods. To hear her talk, black communities are “food deserts, “only having access to fast food chains. Fresh produce is scarcer than hen’s teeth. Perhaps the First Lady should be hectoring the Portland African American Leadership Forum and give the rest of us a break.

Trader Joe’s, an innovative grocery chain, supplying low-cost food to communities across the country, had been actively seeking to open a store in a depressed area of NE Portland since 1999. In partnership with the Portland Development Commission, the idea was for Trader Joe’s to jump-start revitalization of the largely black community. Two weeks ago the chain, retreating from howls of protest leveled against them by PAALF, abandoned their plans to build in that neighborhood. Why was PAALF fighting development? Because, according to’s headline last week: “Black Activists and Politicians Force Trader Joe’s Grocery Out: Claim It Would Attract Too Many Whites.”

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