Monday, August 20, 2012

Augusta National Statement

For Immediate Release: Contact Sherry Mallory Rob Woods (773) 256-2714 Rainbow PUSH Challenges Augusta National to Include Women, Again Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Involved ATLANTA (April 5, 2012) Nearly a decade after RPC VP Janice L. Mathis, Martha Burk and other activists protested the exclusion of women from Augusta National, some things have changed, and some have not. There are a few more female heads of Fortune 500 Companies now than there were in 2003, but Augusta National (home of the Masters) has still not opened its doors to women. Mathis and others will picket the tournament on Saturday from noon, until 2:00 p.m. “It surprises me a little that Billy Payne (given his Olympics background) has not nudged the traditionalists into accepting female members, especially in time for IBM’s CEO to receive her green sponsor’s jacket. Why bring this misery onto itself?” Georgia Power and other Atlanta-based firms ended their sponsorship of the tournament, but with tickets priced at Super Bowl levels and platinum-plated members like Bill Gates, Augusta National doesn’t need the money. “Why bother making an issue of it?” some may ask. It matters because the Masters is more than a private game of golf. It takes over the City of Augusta every Spring. School closes, the Chronicle is saturated with tournament coverage, police officers and city garbage collectors earn extra pay for overtime work, the azaleas bloom and the world comes to Augusta. It matters because after Tiger’s first win, the course was Tigerized in an effort to make it harder for him to win again. Gender and race discrimination are each made of equal parts fear and loathing. They are indistinguishable. I think of America’s image abroad. We lag the world in women leaders. Places like India and Pakistan accept female leadership easier than we do. A woman’s worth is still too often calculated based on what she looks like than what she does. If you think I exaggerate, ask Baylor’s superstar hoopster, Brittney Griner. Wouldn’t it be nice to tell our enemies everywhere that all Americans count and that we are pursuing a more perfect union and playing by one set of rules? Pretty soon the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of affirmative action, again. Before she left the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote persuasively about the “paths to leadership” that wind through America’s most elite institutions. I encourage Augusta National to enter a new era and permit highly qualified women to join the ranks of the club’s elite membership. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more about the RainbowPUSH Coalition, please visit, or telephone (773) 373-3366. For more information, please call (404) 525-5663 or 404 394 1500.

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