Dear Pacific Pride Foundation:
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned with the inclusion of the weapons manufacturer Raytheon as a sponsor for the Santa Barbara Pride Festival. Although we are entirely supportive of Pacific Pride and the events its organizers have commendably coordinated for Pride Week, find Raytheon to be a deeply inappropriate candidate for affiliation with a foundation that is stated to hold equal human rights in the highest regard.
The stated intention of Pride Week, as presented on www.pacificpridefestival.org, is to %u201C%u2026bring together our community and help sew love, peace, and unity in Santa Barbara.%u201D However, Raytheon is the fifth-largest military contractor in the world and is credited as being the largest producer of guided missiles worldwide; their weapons are sold worldwide and are deployed in numerous and controversial conflicts, and in most of these conflicts many civilians die. For instance, Raytheon explosives were deployed in Israel's recent Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths. In addition to missile technology, radar and weapon target systems, Raytheon has now developed a product known as the %u201CSilent Guardian,%u201D also dubbed the %u201CPain Ray%u201D. This %u201CActive Denial System%u201D is marketed as a crowd control device that functions by discharging a beam of high-energy waves which causes the flesh of all living things in its range to experience an extremely painful burning sensation. Intended for use as a means to disperse protestors, the consequences of this technology and its potential impact on the rights of demonstrators should be clear. The Silent Guardian has been put to use in Afghanistan and has been tested on both animals and on at least one occasion on prisoners in Castaic, California.
Clearly, Raytheon%u2019s motives as a company do not match the goal of %u201Clove, peace, and unity%u201D which the Pride Festival maintains: at the very least, it stands as a testament to hypocrisy for Raytheon to sponsor an event for which peace is a fundamental aspect, just as HRC%u2019s endorsement of the company as exemplar of equal opportunity employment for LGBTQ workers fails to reduce Raytheon%u2019s practice of profiting from the systematic subversion of human rights wherever its products are put to use. Equal rights are human rights and no person or group of people is of greater value than another. As such, we have concluded that Raytheon is not an ethically viable choice for involvement in Pride-related festivities.
. Our hope is that Raytheon%u2019s sponsorship will be withdrawn from all future Pride events and that in doing so Pride will become a truly peaceful affair and a more powerful symbol of human rights-for everyone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We would like to emphasize, once again, that we find no fault with Pacific Pride itself nor with its events in relation to this matter and we hope Pacific Pride will make the best decision for all of our futures.