Three Saturday protests demand TIAA divest from fossil fuels, land grabs

TIAA Divest! | 20 April 2021

Three Saturday protests demand TIAA divest from fossil fuels, land grabs
New York City --  "TIAA has an image of social responsibility, but they are investing in many companies that are at the root cause of climate change. We demand this stop,"  said Molly Ornati, a Brooklyn resident and one of the organizers of a rally at TIAA's Upper West Side branch office at 108th and Broadway on Saturday morning, April 17th. The protest, one of 3 organized by the "TIAA Divest from Climate Destruction" campaign Saturday, confronted the $1.3T investment giant with three primary demands on Saturday: divest from all fossil fuels, defund Line 3 (a tar sands pipeline being built across Anishinaabe land in Minnesota), and stop land grabs, especially in Brazil, which lead to human rights abuses and deforestation.  
At the day's second TIAA-Divest demonstration, at the gates of Columbia University, Ben Goldstein, a business owner and former CUNY employee,  commented, "I went to my TIAA advisor and said, 'I want my funds out of planetary destruction. There isn't even an option at TIAA to get my funds out of planetary destruction. It's completely ridiculous. It's also a bad investment policy. TIAA is not being a proper steward of my funds or the funds of higher ed and health care workers. My sister's a nurse; she has funds in TIAA." He concluded, "TIAA wake up! This is a crime. Fix it. Be better for us."
"We want TIAA to divest entirely from the fossil fuel industry," said Bill Kish, who lives a few miles away from what he said is a "polluting and unnecessary  fracked gas power plant," Cricket Valley Energy, which was directly financed by TIAA as a one-third owner. Bill spoke at the rally at TIAA's branch at 108th and Broadway, on New York City's Upper West Side on Saturday.
"We demand that TIAA dump their over $3.5M investment in Enbridge, the company funding Line 3," said Iris Marie Bloom, at the same rally. All 4 events Saturday included "Defund Line 3" as a demand. Enbridge is violating the land, water, and human rights of the Anishinaabe people, upon whose unceded territory Enbridge is building their pipeline "despite vigorous resistance led by Anishinaabe and allied water protectors," Bloom said. The greenhouse gas emissions from this tar sands oil pipeline, if completed, would be equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from fifty new coal-fired plants.
The TIAA-Divest! campaign also demanded that TIAA "stop land grabs," as TIAA is one of the two largest foreign buyers in Brazil and many of its landholdings lead to displacement of local communities and to deforestation, another driver of climate change. Altamiran Ribeiro, a Brazilian land rights activist representing Brazil's Pastoral Land Commission, who was not present at the rally, said the TIAA land grabs harm communities: "They're losing their lands, losing their seeds, losing their livelihoods, their cultures and traditions."
After the 108th and Broadway rally and simultaneous with the Columbia University rally, students led a lively Ithaca TIAA-Divest protest. All 3 TIAA Divest! actions supported and fed into a larger action organized by Stop The Money Pipeline, called "All Eyes on BlackRock," in midtown on Saturday.
The TIAA-Divest! campaign has helped win eight "TIAA Divest" Faculty Senate and Union Resolutions in New York State since December 2020, including multiple SUNY campuses and Cornell University.  Another Resolution is being voted on today in Syracuse at Upstate Medical University, with others underway at The New School, SUNY Albany, and SUNY Buffalo.
More Photos: 
"All Eyes on BlackRock demonstration 4/17 NYC (all photos by George Cho)
"All Eyes on BlackRock" demonstration 4/17 NYC photos (by Iris Marie Bloom)
News: Cornell Sun: University Assembly Resolution to Encourage TIAA Divestment from Fossil Fuels, Destructive Agribusiness (March 21, 2021)
The River: SUNY Faculty Urge TIAA to Divest from Fossil Fuels (March 16, 2021)
TIAA Divest! Campaign website:
Past press releases:
Twitter: @POW_no_fracking or search using #TIAADivest
Original source: TIAA Divest!

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