HIS ACTIVISM FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE!
Last week I read an article featuring Mitchell (and his company Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams) in The Washington Post entitled “The Last Frontier for Gay Rights: A powerful liberal activist, a rural conservative town and a debate that won’t end”. I have to admit when I finished the article I had tears in my eyes and I felt so very proud to have known and loved Mitchell for over 20 years. Also knowing how well he treats his employees and how much he honors his community made me feel especially proud to be carrying his furniture at Hammertown.
Mitchell Gold — the CEO of the $230 million furniture company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, one of Alexander County’s [in North Carolina] largest employers — had been a fixture at town meetings and civic functions for years. He’d moved to the area nearly 30 years before, and for more than a decade, he had been preaching the gospel of gay rights, making it his personal mission to lobby religious groups to accept the LGBT community, especially youth. (Washington Post article)
Yes…Mitchell (and Bob Williams) have created an incredible business in Alexander County that gives back (very generously) to their community and treats their employees better than any other employer in the county. But beliefs, especially religious beliefs, are cemented into the culture of this part of North Carolina. Many of the people he employs and members of the community disapprove of his “lifestyle”.
And yet, the county and the company forged a partnership, spurred on by economic need as much as anything else. The walls of the MGBW offices are lined with awards, including a plaque for “Large Business of the Year” from the Alexander County Chamber of Commerce. The company sponsors area nonprofits and fundraisers and recreational sports leagues, where adults and kids display the logo on their uniforms. “I don’t think there’s been a season that a ball team hit the field that they weren’t wearing the colors of Mitchell Gold Bob Williams,” Taylorsville Town Manager David Odom, who is also a school board member, told me. “He has established a clear track record of benevolence here.”
Odom added: “A few people, who are biased and judgmental, I can promise you do not represent the majority of folks in Alexander County. They may think they do, but they don’t.” Otherwise, he argued, few parents would let their child wear a Mitchell Gold shirt, and few workers would take a check from a gay employer.
Mitchell’s tenacity as an activist and the positive affect he’s had on so many in his community is very inspiring. His story illustrates that social progress really does take time and the road is comprised of many baby steps. I strongly encourage you to read the entire article.
THANK YOU MITCHELL…you make me proud to know you!