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Walls of unity June 30, 2010

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy.
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Below is my reply to an article written by Katie Morell for Meetings Focus entitled, Should Groups Boycott Destinations?

One has a right and obligation to voice their opinions and concerns about any and all types of legislation proposed and passed by elected officials, including the cause and effect of their actions. I respect that voice, however – I am deeply concerned about the reactionary tactic used.

Whether one perceives the merits of Arizona SB 1070 as good or bad, one should not prompt a cause of action against the hospitality industry. I am not taking a position on the merits of the law – my only position is that again our industry is chosen as the whipping boy for all political recourse.  The constant reaction of organizations to first prompt a boycott rather than first seek other solutions is bothersome to me.  What will be the next issue that moves organizations to boycott a state or region for their cause?  Where will the boycott come from? Where will the boycott take place? How long and divisive will it be? One never knows. Our industry didn’t take a position one way or another, for or against this legislation, nor were we asked to be a part of the debate; but again the attacks begin with our industry.  We must build walls of unity against any travel industry boycott – or stand by watching as the walls of our industry slowly erode.  

What we do in the meetings industry benefits society. When people meet they solve problems, they collaborate on breakthroughs, they change cultures, they tear down walls, and they form bonds that move us to a better tomorrow. I am proud of what we do and I make no apologies for it.

Our industry is the highest institution for enabling education, collaboration and change, and we must invest our time and energy to protect this – our institution. 

                We’re not brain surgeons – we bring them face-to-face.

                We’re not rocket scientists – we bring them face-to-face.

                We’re not world leaders – we bring them face-to-face.

We bring the world together – let’s not find ways to tear us apart.

One only needs to remember the attacks on meetings and conventions by federal representatives last year to realize that we have to be vigilant in our position that meetings mean business, that meetings deliver and that face time matters.  We have a voice – let’s use it together.