Wal-Mart is marking their 50th anniversary on and around the 9th of July. Faith leaders and commonity opponents of Wal-Mart marked the occasion with a candlelight vigil at the Ga Ave site where Wal-Mart wants to open a store in DC.
Rev Hagler’s church has the misfortune to be located almost exactly between two proposed Wal-Mart locations maybe a mile apart. Rev Hagler spoke of two previous fights by his congregation, both ending in victory. One was an attempt by Exxon to open a gas station on a lot where community members wanted housing. After a ten year fight, Exxon was defeated and subsidized housing for the elderly built instead. The other was against a grocery store named “Tiger Mart” that obtained a liquor license despite community opposition to a 4th liquor store in the neighborhood. This was not a “gang of 6” like in Dupont Circle or Adams-Morgan. This was churches and community groups, and a liquor board openly issung a license in defiance of their own rules. After a year of daily picket lines that drove away customers, Tiger Mart finally did stop selling liquor, by going bankrupt and out of business,
Clearly Rev Hagler and other faith leaders are warning Wal-Mart that they will share the fate of Tiger Mart and that Exxon station if they dare to open in Ward 4 in defiance of community wishes.
In addition, labor activists who have been trying without success to force Wal-Mart to sign a community benefits agreement announced at the vigil that since Ward 4 residents are saying they don’t want Wal-Mart at all they will now oppose ANY Wal-Mart stores in Ward 4, with or without a community benefits agreement or any other concessions,.