FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2018
Contact: Emily Claire Goldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 922-6415
California educators to protest against pension fund complicity in the migrant abuse crisis
Sacramento, CA - Educators across California will join forces at the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) board meeting on Thursday to voice their outrage over CalSTRS’ investments in four of the companies enabling and profiting off of family separation and detention.
With a new petition launched by Educators for Migrant Justice, CalSTRS is facing mounting pressure from its members to immediately divest from for-profit prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group and push General Dynamics and United Rentals to stop providing equipment and services used to process migrant children separated under the administration’s zero tolerance policy.
CalSTRS, the second largest pension fund in the US, is widely recognized as a leader in socially responsible investing, yet it currently has more than $144 million invested in companies aiding and abetting the administration’s crimes against humanity at the border. Almost two months after grassroots activism prompted CalSTRS to initiate a review of its exposure to for-profit prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group, CalSTRS’ Chief Investment Officer, Christopher Ailman, has yet to disclose how long the review will take or whether CalSTRS will address concerns that CoreCivic and GEO Group have violated at least seven human rights-related risk factors from CalSTRS’ policies on mitigating social risks when investing educators’ retirement money.
CalSTRS’ website notes that they have “validated and confirmed” that neither CoreCivic nor GEO Group is “housing unaccompanied minors,” but lawyers working on the ground in CoreCivic’s Dilley detention facility have revealed that children and their families need only be detained within the same facility - not necessarily together - to avoid the label “separated” or “unaccompanied.” According to CalSTRS’ External Affairs division, the pension fund does not have any plans to review its investments in General Dynamics and United Rentals, the two companies responsible for providing support services to the Homestead detention facility in Florida where unaccompanied children are still being detained.
The California Federation of Teachers (CFT), whose members helped spearhead the Educators for Migrant Justice movement, passed a resolution at their Executive Council meeting on September 15th, but concerns remain that the resolution fails to identify any concrete steps moving forward and otherwise dilutes stakeholders' demands for immediate divestment from CoreCivic and GEO Group.
Educators for Migrant Justice is a grassroots advocacy movement launched in partnership with the Badass Teachers Association. The campaign joins the #FamiliesBelongTogether Corporate Accountability coalition in calling for institutional investors to cut financial ties to CoreCivic and GEO Group. Coordinated pension fund petitions and board meeting activism are planned for New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Ohio. For more information, contact Emily Claire Goldman.