We live in a largely capitalist society heavily interwoven with consumerism; our buying patterns and behaviors tend to shape our lives in ways that are both good and bad. And for many Americans, brand loyalty is a big deal.

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This week, on the heels of the rapid uprise of protests against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”, coffee giant Starbucks pledged its support to the side of the activists.

In a statement on Sunday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced the company will hire 10,000 refugees in the 75 countries where it does business, with the effort starting within the United States.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American dream, being called into question,” wrote Schultz. “These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.”

“There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plan to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”

Beyond the Muslim ban, Schultz’s letter also denounced various other Trump policies, including the president’s promises to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border as well as repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In similar fashion, clothing giant Nike released a statement publicly denouncing the new president’s policies toward Muslims and Muslim-majority nations.

“Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity,” wrote Mark Parker, Nike CEO. “Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone’s individual experience is what make us stronger as a whole.”

“Those values are being threatened by the recent executive order in the U.S. banning refugees, as well as visitors, from seven Muslim-majority countries. This is a policy we don’t support. And I know we’re all asking what this means for our future, for our friends, our families and our broader community.”

To the naysayer, these efforts and others like them may seem trivial; although the fact that many pro-Trump Americans are already calling for the brands’ boycotting seems to negate this opinion. But at a higher level, it is actions and stances like these that give a greater voice for change.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

As it is, we live in a largely capitalist society heavily interwoven with consumerism; our buying patterns and behaviors tend to shape our lives in ways that are both good and bad. And for many Americans, brand loyalty is a big deal.

I myself have personal favorites when it comes the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the coffee I drink; and with modern technology pushing commerce into the social realm (think gamification), concepts like buyers’ rewards and incentive programs are only going to get more common and more robust.

This is the advantage that corporate America has, in that – much like our affinity for celebrity culture – it can both shine a spotlight on and affect the outcome of various social and political strains worldwide.

Their messages are before us and interjected throughout our daily discourse. Their branding often defines much more of who we are than most would care to admit.

Don’t believe it? Consider the effect conglomerates like the Koch brothers have had over decades’ worth of public policy. Imagine an economy where Walmart was not setting the (low) bar for wages.

These entities and others like them have largely worked “behind the scenes” perhaps because their overt message is rarely – if at all, ever – in line with the best interests of the American people. They could not come right out and say what their motives are.

But when a Starbucks or a Nike or whatever or whomever else comes out publicly and stands with the people who have democracy and justice on their side, it speaks volumes to the cause itself.

Their support emboldens the fight and puts a solid foundation under the groundswell of the resistance against the new administration. It allows for the pride of numbers and strength. It lends credibility to the cause and power to the movement.

This is the advantage that corporate America has, in that – much like our affinity for celebrity culture – it can both shine a spotlight on and affect the outcome of various social and political strains worldwide.

Furthermore, as brands can represent vast numbers of consumers – and buying power is, in fact, power – their collective voices can and often are quite politically influencing.

If a Senator or local legislator is cognizant of the fact that legions of “buyers” – whose hard-earned, tax-paying dollars are directly developing local and national economies – are steadfastly devout to a cause supported and promoted by some of the most popular and progressive brands of consumer-America, than it also empowers said advocate to argue for the will of the people represented.

As more brands come out against the Trump agenda, it will be interesting to see and measure the effects of their politicizing on the side of true Americanism. Something tells me there is a lot more value to it than just a decent cup of coffee.

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Meghan is a Staff Writer at MosaicPlanet.org with a focus on Healthcare, Education and Civil Rights. She currently resides in Staten Island, NY, and is a graduate of The New School in NYC. Her two, four-legged roommates - twin beagles Mika and Mattias - keep her grounded.