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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

Human rights groups urge speakers to pull out of Salesforce conference over Border Patrol contract

Advocacy groups are calling on Will.i.am, Andre Iguodala, Al Gore, and Adrian Grenier to pull out of Salesforce’s upcoming conference, Dreamforce.

Sept. 10, 2018

This summer, news broke of Salesforce’s government contract with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since then activists across the country have protested, employees have organized, and a steady growing coalition of organizations that are Salesforce customers have called on the company to cut ties with CBP.

Salesforce executives has continually refused, made excuses, and attempted to sweep the issue under the rug. In response, RAICES, one of the nation’s leading immigrants rights groups, recently refused a $250,000 donation from Salesforce, and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters pulled out of catering their flagship conference, Dreamforce.

Now, a coalition of organizations that include, Presente.org, Color of Change, Demand Progress, Defending Rights and Dissent, Fight for the Future, Mijente, RAICES, Sum of Us are asking speakers at Dreamforce asking them either drop out or use their platform to speak on the issue of Salesforce’s contract with CBP.

If Salesforce continues to ignore the issue, these groups plan to escalate to high profile in person protests at Dreamforce and associated events. Advocates presence will be known through the week of Dreamforce.

Leaders from the coalition issued these statements:

“No company should be in the business of caging our families and destroying our democracy,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group. “Salesforce cannot ask for our business by day and help lock up our families at night. We’re demanding real leadership — not just platitudes from the Salesforce cloud — and our hundreds of thousands of members across the country will only support companies who are not afraid to protect our human rights.”

“Salesforce prides itself on being a socially responsible company and usually partners with those who share that same values” said Jelani Drew, campaigner for Fight for the Future, “We’re asking featured speakers at Dreamforce to use their platform to urge Salesforce to drop their contract with CBP. We’ve seen how tech has been used to drive the human suffering and tragedy. This is the perfect time for Salesforce executives to determine what they want their legacy to be: tech leader or complicit?”

"Salesforce cannot go on with business as usual and promote themselves as a socially responsible tech company, at their annual Dreamforce conference, when thousands of families are being torn apart and traumatized under Trump's immigration policies," said Scott Roberts, Senior Campaign Director of Color Of Change. Black and Brown immigrants are being detained and deported at alarming rates, subjected to racial profiling, and unlawful surveillance. Salesforce is fundamentally powering these extremely racist and harmful policies by working with Customs and Border Patrol. The speakers at Dreamforce should use their platform to urge Salesforce to choose people over profits and cancel its contract with CBP."

"The time to act, to stand on the right side of history, to be a true moral leader, is now. While Salesforce celebrates its annual Dreamforce event, families ripped apart at the border are still broken and separated. Children will sleep not knowing where their parents are or when they will see them again. And Salesforce, through its contract with CBP, is complicit. We're calling on featured speakers Will.i.am, Al Gore and others to use their platform, now and while on stage, to call for change. To say directly to Salesforce and in plain words: Cancel the Contract," said Tihi Hayslett, campaigner at Demand Progress.

“Salesforce, through its contract with Customs and Border Patrol, is complicit in the forcible separation of families and in the racist detentions and deportations of black and brown immigrants. This is unacceptable,” explained Reem Suleiman, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs. “Speakers at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference, should use their platforms to either speak out against this abuse, or refuse to participate.”

“While people of conscience are horrified by our government’s policy of ripping families apart and detaining children, Salesforce has decided to facilitate these human rights abuses,” stated Chip Gibbons, Policy and Legislative Counsel at Defending Rights and Dissent. “Corporate profiteering from human rights deprivations is unacceptable. Salesforce must make a choice: live up to their purported ideals or be a willing accomplice to the Trump Administration’s inhumanity.”

“We stand with the over 800 Salesforce workers who’ve asked Salesforce leadership to commit to canceling the CBP contract,” said Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES, the largest immigration legal services non-profit in TX, focusing on underserved immigrant children, families and refugees. “We rejected the $250,000 donation from Salesforce because of their refusal to cancel their contract with CBP. The Dreamforce speakers have the opportunity to stand with immigrants, and we strongly encourage them to do so”.

“We need the Dreamforce speakers to say “not in my name” and condemn Salesforce’s decision to support Trump’s deportation machine,” said Marisa Franco, co-founder of Mijente, a political home for Latinx & Chicanx organizing. ”Our immigrant community is afraid to attend birthday parties with family and friends because of Trump’s crackdown. Salesforce leadership must be reminded that there is no neutrality in times of rising authoritarianism.”

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With more than 500,000 member-volunteers, Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture.