“AMATA RESPONDS TO MANHATTAN PROJECT BEER COMPANY MARKETING”
The following letter from Congresswoman Amata was sent to the Manhattan Project Beer Company in Texas reinforcing the concerns expressed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands regarding the marketing use of the name of Bikini Atoll as a product line.
August 19, 2019
Mr. and Mrs. Karl Sanford
Mr. Jeremy Brodt
Manhattan Project Beer Company
2215 Sulphur Street
Dallas, Texas 75208
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sanford and Mr. Brodt:
There is no doubt in my mind that you had no thought of possible negative implications of your decision to name one of your beers for the Bikini Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Had the beer related just to the bathing suit it would not have been so hurtful but because your overall marketing relates to America’s nuclear program, which includes Bikini tests that were conducted there from 1946 to 1958, it is hurtful to the people who were removed from their homeland and who have suffered from exile and fallout related illness ever since.
So, it is not a matter of your intentions but how they were received.
This is not a matter of political correctness, this is a personal matter for me because I spent part of my childhood in the Marshall Islands, where my father served as the chief government administrator. In fact, I am recognized as a citizen of the Marshalls by an act of the legislature, which conferred citizenship on my parents and all their children upon our departure at the completion of his tour there.
My parents were beloved by the Marshallese people and I recall him describing for me a post-test inspection tour of Bikini in which he walked through the craters caused by the nuclear tests. In fact, it is quite possible that the cancer that ultimately claimed his life had its origins in that inspection visit.
Moreover, my eldest brother married a Marshallese woman so Marshallese and Samoan blood flow through the veins of my nieces and nephews. So, as you can see, this is very personal for me.
Under our Constitution you have every right to name and market your beer any way you want. But I am writing to ask you as a matter of conscience to reconsider your decision to continue to sell Bikini Beer. I strongly support the sense of dismay expressed by the government of the Marshall Islands regarding an insensitive portrayal of the Bikini Atoll.
Generations in the Marshall Islands have been sadly affected by the testing at the Atoll and there are current serious concerns over the safety of the massive dome that contains the nuclear waste from the tests. In addition to my personal connections, I feel compelled to write to you as a member of Congress serving on a committee which has oversight responsibilities for the islands because the Marshall Islands are not only our Pacific neighbors but also a dependable friend and ally of the United States.
I am grateful for the friendship of the Marshallese people towards our country. In this matter, I can only hope that common sense, kindness and good judgment will prevail.
Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen
Member of Congress for American Samoa
Cc: Senator Cornyn
Representative Marc A. Veasey