64 Days and No Response
The Walmart Saga Continues
By Naomi Bonman
IVN Staff Writer
It’s been 64 days and no return call from Mr. Javier
Numerous letters have been written and telephone calls have been made to the corporate office
A community forum was held with the National Association for Equal Justice in America (NAEJA).
The original article is being republished in this edition.
The Inland Valley News has set a deadline of June 30, 2012 to have some resolution.
To help us get the newspapers back in Walmart call the numbers listed in the article, write more letters, register your support for Inland Valley News by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pomona, CA- It has happened again, nearly two years ago Vons/Safeway Grocery Store in Upland, CA tossed out the Inland Valley News (IVN) newspapers and now Walmart in Pomona, CA has joined them. On April 19, 2012, Tommy Morrow, Publisher of the Inland Valley News, received a phone call from someone who identified himself as a manager at the Rio Rancho Walmart by the name of David, demanded that the Inland Valley News newspapers be removed from the store. The manager informed Mr. Morrow that he was acting on the directive of the Regional Manager whom he named as John. The Rio Rancho Walmart in Pomona is one of the major locations that readers go to pick up their complimentary paper of the Inland Valley News.
For the last five years the Inland Valley News has had a great relationship with Walmart. Up until recently consumers have been able to receive their complimentary copy of the newspaper from the Rio Rancho store. This unpopular decision made by Walmart has affected nearly 2,000 weekly readers.
This act comes as a complete shock and surprise to the IVN. For over 20 years, the Inland Valley News (IVN) has been a reputable publication that has served the Inland Valley communities. It is the only legally adjudicated and audited print publication targeted toward the Black community between Los Angeles and San Bernardino. This newspaper serves nearly 70,000 readers each week as the voice of the African American community throughout Southern California’s Inland Valley.
The Inland Valley News and Walmart have had a longstanding relationship. The newspaper, along with its nonprofit organization Shining Glory Publications, holds an annual Celebration of Excellence Awards Gala in which we honor those members of the community who have excelled in their fields as well as other unsung heroes in the community. This is the largest business gathering of African American business and community leaders, and political figures in the Inland Valley. For the last several years Walmart has been one of the primary sponsors, both financially and by attending and taking part as a presenter for the annual event. Walmart was one of the recipients of the Corporate Community Service award which was given to John Mc Bride, a former manager of the Pomona Walmart store and now manager in Oregon. “He was the one who invited us to bring the newspapers to that location,” Morrow said.
This year Walmart executives simply ignored the call for support of the Gala by evading emails, letters and calls, which eventually led to the Inland Valley News being asked to remove the papers from the store. There was no reason given for Walmart’s failure to return emails, messages, voicemail and correspondences. This is the same community in which so many Walmart stores continue to thrive because many in the Black community are loyal Walmart shoppers.
“As a black business owner, as well as Publisher of a black-interest newspaper, I strongly encouraged Walmart to reconsider the decision to remove the Inland Valley News from its store. In the last several years I have appreciated the support that we have received from Walmart and have welcomed the relationships that have been built with many of the former Pomona store managers and executives. I believe that Walmart has a corporate responsibility to support, uplift and serve the community where they do considerable business,” Morrow said.
This case is a huge injustice to the African American community. Without Walmart being a location to pick up the Inland Valley News newspaper, readers now have to pick up their weekly copies from different locations outside of their area.
“I received a phone call about this issue. It is an unfortunate situation, and now I will contact the executives about it,” Rich Wallace, President, Southern California Black Chambers of Commerce, said.
Let your voices be heard, call these numbers and let the executives know how you feel to have the Inland Valley News in your local store: (479) 204-6662, Leslie Dach, l1dach@Walmart.com; Margaret Sans, (479) 204- 8119, Maggie.Sans@Walmart.com; and (909) 620-4602, Rio Rancho Walmart.
Watch this and other publications for updates on this critical issue that affects this community. There is more to come.