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Hershey’s: Stand Up Against Discrimination

Last year, the Milton Hershey School — a tuition-free boarding school founded by Hershey’s founder in 1909 and funded in large part by the sale of Hershey’s bars and Reese’s cups — denied admission to a 13-year-old boy, explicitly because he’s HIV-positive. And Hershey’s Chocolate is just silently standing by while the school they fund promotes discrimination.

rev jeffrey jordan-pickett My name is Jeffrey Jordan-Pickett, and I am the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia. I’m also HIV-positive. I’ve experienced my share of discrimination, and I know this school’s decision is just adding to the stigma that HIV-positive people like me face every day. It’s certainly not a decision made in the interest of the students! That’s why this weekend, my church and I are going to Hershey, PA to call for Hershey’s Chocolate to address this situation, and we’d like you to come with us.

Will you add your name to our petition to the right that calls for Hershey’s Chocolate to push for the boy to be admitted and for the school’s policies to change for good?

Because the Milton Hershey School continues to refuse admission to the boy — even though US federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability — his family is left with no other choice but to take the school to court. But that could be avoided if Hershey’s Chocolate used their influence as Board Members to pressure the school to admit the boy and change their policy so that kids living with HIV can have an opportunity to get the education Milton Hershey dreamed they could get.

As a pastor, I am reminded of the biblical stories of people with illnesses being shunned by society. Jesus did not tolerate such behavior, and neither should we. That’s why my church is standing up with this young man in his fight against institutionalized discrimination, and I hope you will join us, no matter your religious beliefs.

Please read and sign our petition to Hershey’s calling for it to push for the boy to be admitted to the Milton Hershey School, and I’ll personally bring it with me to Hershey, PA this weekend.

Thank you,
Rev. Jeffrey Jordan-Pickett


More information:

The Milton Hershey School
HIV positive boy denied admission sues Hershey school, Reuters, 1 December 2011