Derrick Hollie

Derrick Hollie

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Broadcast Management and Communications, East Tennessee State University (1985 - 1989). [1]

Background

Derrick Hollie is the founder of Reaching America, a 501(C)(4) organization that uses “grass root efforts, social media, traditional media and PR” to advocate for reduced regulation on the fossil fuel industry as well as “other issues affecting African Americans in our country today.” [2]

Hollie's profile at Reaching America reads as follows: 

“A seasoned professional with over 25 years of advertising and integrated marketing experience. Derrick has produced several award winning education and outreach campaigns for government, private sector and nonprofit organizations including Johnson Products, Department of State, Department of Commerce, Census 2010, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Volkswagen Group of America and PepsiCo. These campaigns were inclusive of media planning and buying, creative services, event and conference planning.” [2]

Hollie previously founded an advertising firm called Global Advertising 1st, which according to Inc.com had annual revenues of $3.5 million in 2010. Global Advertising's clients have included the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Gillette, Dodge, and Jeep. [2], [3], [4]

According to Hollie, he lost his business due to a dispute with the Census Bureau, which he said in an online petition had left him and his staff working for six months with no pay. [5]

Stance on Climate Change

Reaching America offers the following description on the “Energy & Energy Poverty” section of its website: [6]

“Energy is the lifeblood our society. It doesn’t just fuel our cars and power our homes, but it connects us to one another and makes our lives healthier, safer, and more fulfilling. However, recent policies are leading to rising energy costs – and African Americans are disproportionately hurt. Low income families pay a greater share of their income on utilities in some cases as much as 35%. The only thing low income families spend more on is housing. Since minorities are more likely to be low income than the general population regulations and other policies that drive up the costs of energy hit African Americans and other minorities especially hard.

Reaching America is committed to advancing policies that allow us to use our abundant, affordable, and reliable energy sources – and that allow consumer decisions and individual priorities to determine our energy mix. Instead of regulating away coal, oil, and natural gas, policymakers should be focused on allowing innovation and the free market to flourish with solutions that meet our energy demands.”

June 13, 2017

Derrick Hollie advocated for pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, writing at the Huffington Post's “contributor platform”: [7]

While defenders of the accord say it was all about climate change, in reality it was a bad deal that would have hurt Americans—especially low-income and minority Americans,” he wrote. [7]

Key Quotes

February 2018

“We should be thanking God for the amount of fossil fuels we have in this country right here, as opposed to other countries where we're having brown and blackouts right now,” Hollie said on an episode of “Watching the Hawks.” [33]

June 17, 2017

Derrick Hollie voiced a Reaching America radio spot in Atlanta, GA, on “energy poverty.” The transcript was as follows: [8]

“Hi, I'm Derrick Hollie, President of Reaching America. Did you know that African Americans suffer disproportionately from energy poverty here in the United States? What is energy poverty, you may ask? Energy poverty exists when a low-income family or individual spends up to 30% of their income on utilities. It breaks my heart to think of a single mother who has to decide on feeding her kids, or paying the energy bills.

Specifically here in Atlanta, a high proportion of low income families already pay more than $200 a month for their electricity, and we need to fix this. In America, we have an abundance of energy and many of us take for granted that we can simply turn on the lights and keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have the natural resources from fossil fuels, including natural gas, and the technology to access these resources all while reducing US air pollution, that provides affordable, reliable energy right here at home. 

Join Reaching America in our modern-day movement to address social issues impacting the African American community at ReachingAmerica.org.” [8]

April 25, 2017

Writing on the contributor platform of HuffPost regarding renewable energy in Virginia, Hollie declared: [9]

“The mayor’s plan to cut emissions by 80 percent extends out to the year 2050, meaning he’ll be long out of office once the true costs begin impact the people of Richmond. But the true costs of an unfeasible plan like this one will hurt minority and low income families every step of the way.”

”[…] Reducing use of fossil fuels and replacing them with wind and solar energy has become a politically popular claim to make but is neither affordable nor based in reality.” [9]

Key Deeds

September 11, 2018

Derrick Hollie spoke at a public hearing on the Buckingham Compressor Station (BCS) air permit in Virginia. He described the station as an “integral part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline” and came out “in strong support of this project.” [32]

With regards to expressed concerns that the project would damage Virginia's environment, Hollie said he and Reaching America “have no such concerns.” [32]

August 18, 2018

Hollie wrote an op-ed at the Daily Press where he claimed protestors of offshore oil and gas production don't represent people of color. [29]

“[W]hat I don’t see is a lot of minorities or people of color. Maybe because they’re at work trying to make up for that pay gap?” Hollie wrote. He further suggested the “protests blatantly oppress an already oppressed group of people.” [29]

“Producing more energy here in America will make energy prices go down, or at least keep them stable in the near future. That’s why the first step should be approving seismic testing and initiating a discovery phase off Virginia’s coast,” Hollie suggested. [29]

“In light of this information, it strikes me incredibly odd that many local elected officials… are opposed to offshore drilling,” he added.[29]

Reaching America is listed as a “partner” in a coalition organized by the American Petroleum Institute titled Explore Offshore that pushes offshore drilling. [34]

August 7, 2018

Hollie spoke at the Heartland Institute's “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [26]

The purpose of this event is to promote and expand energy freedom in the United States, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s bold America First Energy Plan, a proposal first released during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president’s plan marks a decisive change in direction from the Obama administration’s 'war on fossil fuels' and focus on the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change,” the conference description reads[27]

Hollie spoke on a panel titled “Fueling Freedom and Prosperity”: [28]

“We're focused on solutions not based on right or left wing views, but what makes sense for a more united America,” Hollie claimed.  “And I say that because oftentimes, the audience that I'm speaking to, the last thing they want to hear is about is being a conservative or energy […]  [00:51]

“And [you'd say] oh my god Derrick, you're drinking the Trump kool-aid. Well, yea, I'll take a couple of sips, you know. I have to spit it out sometimes, but for the most part I do drink it.” [1:04]

Hollie went on to go in-depth of his personal experience getting interested in the issue of “energy poverty,” detailing his history working for Norfolk Southern railways as a brakeman at the Lamberts Point coal terminal, loading coal ships. Hollie's father was also a Southwest Virginia coal miner.

“So, now, when I start talking about coal, fossil fuel, energy, it's personal. And I humanized the message,” Hollie said. [2:18]

According to Hollie, the “solution to energy poverty” is more fossil fuel use: [10:29]

“Better energy policy that includes increasing the production of fossil fuels will lead to lower energy costs. Offshore energy exploration, the Atlantic coast pipeline, and improved coal technology. […]

During a Q&A session following the panel, an attendee asked Hollie if he would considering visiting California with his Reaching America operation. Hollie replied he would have to ask his donors:

“I oftentimes reference California as where we don't want to be,” Hollie replied. “However, depending on my donors, I am willing to come out to California.” [30]

August 1, 2017

Derrick Hollie testified to the EPA, opposing a renewable fuel standard claiming it would disproportionately impact African American families. [31]

“Any policy that contributes to energy poverty is a bad one for low income families and minority communities,” Hollie said in his testimony.

“Requiring additional amount of ethanol be put in gasoline would damage engines of older cars and small-engine tools like lawnmowers that require drastic maintenance costs many black families and low income families just can't afford,” he added.

According to Hollie, increased ethanol production would also increase the price of food production. 

June 14, 2017

In a letter to the editor of Springfield News-Leader, Hollie criticizes electric vehicle subsidies in Missouri: [10]

“Adding insult to injury, Missouri offers a lavish subsidy for electric vehicles that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class […] Mandates and subsidies for green energy disproportionately harm the least fortunate. For low-income families, that forces tough choices between putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.” [10]

April 22, 2017

Reaching America is listed as a sponsor of a “Women's Empowerment” event hosted by Foxy 107.1-104.3 radio. Derrick Hollie is listed on the 2017 event schedule to present alongside Willie Moore Jr. [22]

Hollie was also a presenter in a 2016 seminar at the event titled “How energy and energy poverty impacts the African American Community.” [23], [24]

March 22, 2017

Derrick Hollie spoke at the Transformation Expo 2017 in Richmond, Virginia, about “impact of Energy Poverty on the African American community.” Hollie provided a video summary of the event on his Facebook page: [25]

March 2, 2017

As Derrick Hollie reported at Energy in Depth (EID), a group launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), he testified against Senate Bill 0740 and House Bill 1325 — two bills that would prevent hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Maryland. [11], [12]

In his testimony, Hollie brings up “energy poverty,” and concludes that “There is too much at stake for black, low income, and other minority communities for Maryland to be bullied into continuing a misguided ban.” [11]

“Right now, 1,113,342 homes in Maryland are heated by natural gas, and millions more are powered in part by burning natural gas. Harnessing Maryland’s energy potential will help narrow the energy gap by ensuring African American households are just as warm and secure as everyone else’s,” Hollie said. [11]

February 24, 2017

Writing at HuffPost, Dereck Hollie argues that Maryland should pursue hydraulic fracturing (fracking). [13]

“Opponents of natural gas exploration have resorted to scare tactics and bullying of legislators to stop Maryland residents from having access to this affordable, job creating resource,” Hollie said. According to Hollie, “While dozens of other states have embraced natural gas, Maryland has stayed stuck in the past, and it is costing us dearly.” [13]

December 16, 2016

Reaching America teamed up with Fueling US Forward (FUSF) to sponsor a gospel concert in Richmond, VAThe New York Times reported[14]

About halfway through the event, the music gave way to a panel discussion on how the holidays were made possible by energy — cheap energy, like oil and gas,” Hiroko Tabuchi writes at the New York Times. She adds that the concert's flier read “Thankful for the fuels and innovation that make modern life possible.” [14]

View a recap video of the event by Derrick Hollie, posted on Facebook by David Ferguson (formerly of Freedom Partners). [15], [16]

In addition to FUSF and Reaching America, the event was also sponsored by Radio One, which Tabuchi notes caters to black listeners. Four people were picked out of the crowd of 300 and told that their latest monthly electricity bills would be paid up to $250. According to his LinkedIn Profile, Hollie formerly worked at Radio One. [14][1]

August 21, 2016

Writing at The Virginian Pilot, Derick Hollie claims that the Obama Administration had been “discriminating against the most affordable energy sources” including coal. [17]

Hollie cites a study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), a group that has received significant fossil fuel funding including over $1M from ExxonMobil: [18]

“According to a study conducted by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the EPA Clean Power Plan would drive 23 percent more of the black community into poverty,” Hollie wrote. He adds, “On top of that, many black families would face what’s known as 'energy poverty,' meaning reduced access to the electricity that we need to power our daily lives.” [18]

May 11, 2016

Derrick Hollie signed a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) letter supporting legislation that would cancel Schedule B on non-profit reporting to the IRS. This would reduce transparency by removing the identification of contributors. [19]

“This bill presents an opportunity to strengthen free speech protections in light of recent cases of intimidation and mishandling of private information by the IRS. It would be a win for organizations across the political spectrum,” the letter claimed. [19]

Affiliations

  • Reaching America — Founder and President. [2], [1]
  • Fresh Solutions Now Executive Director (March 2013 – June 2015). [1]
  • Global Advertising 1st — President (February 2002 – March 2013). [1]
  • Radio One — National Sales Manager (May 1996 – February 2002). [1]

Social Media

Publications

Derrick Hollie has a number of blog posts at HuffPost under their “contributor” platform, which some have described as “a way for unvetted, unpaid bloggers to post directly to the site without editing, which of course, is a recipe for fake news and insane opinions getting shared around the internet under the banner of The Huffington Post.” Examples of Hollie's posts below. [20], [21]

Resources

  1. Derrick Hollie,” LinkedIn. Accessed July 18, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  2. About,” Reaching America. Archived July 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2YjRN

  3. Global Advertising 1st,” Inc.com. Accessed July 18, 2017.

  4. Macus Moore. “Ad agency: Where are county clients?Gazette.net, August 18, 2006. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NCLxU

  5. Pay what is owed for services and work performed.” Change.org. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/y56HM

  6. Energy & Energy Poverty,” Reaching America. Archived July 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/fmFsX#selection-399.0-402.0

  7. Withdrawing From The Paris Climate Accord Helps Low-Income And Minority Americans,” HuffPost, June 13, 2017. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/KHRC2

  8. 2017-06-17 - Reaching America - Radio Spot - Atlanta - Energy Poverty,” YouTube video uploaded by user Reaching America, July 11, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  9. Richmond's Renewable Nonsense,” HuffPost, April 25, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/GfUq9

  10. Protecting Missouri's poor from energy poverty,”Springfield News-Leader, June 14, 2017.

  11. Derrick Hollie. “Allowing Fracking In Maryland 'Will Help Narrow the Energy Gap' For Minorities,” EnergyinDepth, March 2, 2017. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/zEIZ0

  12. About EID,” EnergyinDepth. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/sEOZv

  13. Dereck Hollie. “Maryland Should Explore Opportunities With Natural Gas,” HuffPost, February 23, 2017. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JcVmY

  14. Hiroko Tabucchi. “Sensing Gains Ahead Under Trump, the Kochs Court Minorities,” The New York Times, January 5, 2017. Archived January 9, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/abF3O

  15. Here's a recap of yesterday's Energy Education Event with Reaching America, Derrick Hollie, and Fueling Us Forward in Richmond, Virginia.,” Facebook post by user David Ferguson, December 11, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  16. David Ferguson,” Facebook profile. Accessed July 18, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/D61JK

  17. Derrick Hollie: Restoring energy independence,” The Virginian Pilot, August 21, 2016. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JbvrJ

  18. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: National Black Chamber of Commerce. Accessed July 18, 2017.

  19. CEI Joins Coalition to Support the 'Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act',” Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 13, 2016. Archived July 17, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/mDw4I

  20. Derrick Hollie: President, Reaching America,” HuffPost. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/z60fn

  21. William Hicks. “Huffington Post’s Contributor Platform Is a Magnet for Fake News and Crazy People,Heatstreet, June 15, 2017. Archived July 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Kq48H 

  22. Women’s Empowerment 2017 Event Schedule,”Foxy 107.1-104.3 FM. Archived July 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/h8D8T

  23. Jennifer Hall. “Women's Empowerment 2017 Sponsors,” Foxy 107.1-104.3 FM. Archived July 19, 2017.

  24. Jennifer Hall. “Seminars,” Foxy 107.1-104.3 FM. Archived July 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XhpU1

  25. Derrick Hollie and Willie Moore Jr. spoke at the Transformation Expo 2017 in #Richmond, #Virginia about the impact of #EnergyPoverty on the African American community,” Facebook post uploaded by user Reaching America, March 22, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  26. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/mwtga

  27. About,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived July 23, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/E4Gnt

  28. DERRICK HOLLIE,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/qyhXs

  29. Derrick Hollie OpEd: Offshore Protestors Who Flood Hearing Rooms Don’t Speak For Everyone,” Daily Press, August 18, 2018. Archived August 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/vh8Ck

  30. Derrick Hollie speaking at Q&A panel at AFEC 2018. Audio on file at DeSmog.

  31. 2017-08-01 - Reaching America - Derrick Hollie - EPA Testimony - Renewable Fuel Standard,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Reaching Ameica,” August 8, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

  32. Live at the DEQ hearing on the BCS air permit,” Facebook video via Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  33. Reaching America with Derrick Hollie,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Watching the Hawsk RT,” February 22, 2018.

  34. COALITION,” Explore Offshore. Accessed September 12, 2018.

Other Resources