NPR’s Morning Edition featured a great piece out of Portland, Oregon about the efforts of activists to hold U.S. electronics companies accountable for their role in perpetuating the conflict in eastern Congo. The conflict is driven in part by competition over lucrative mineral resources that are essential to everyday devices like cell phones and laptops.
Portland-based activist Lisa Shannon, who is quoted in the piece, founded Run for Congo Women to raise money to sponsor women who have survived the war. She is a partner of Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign and has generated quite a following thanks to an appearance on Oprah and coverage of her work by columnist Nick Kristof of The New York Times. Now, Shannon and a dedicated group of activists are focusing their attention on convincing electronics companies to pay the mere pennies per product that it would cost to make the supply chain for the minerals more transparent.
“Don't tell me that no American consumer is willing to pay a penny a product to save human lives and keep the Congolese blood and suffering out of our computers,” said Ann Shannon, Lisa’s mother and a frequent leader of the picket line, during a recent protest at Intel’s Portland-area campus. With this message and jars of pennies, the group has been making the rounds to other company headquarters along the West Coast.
Click here to listen to or read the NPR story.