FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2018
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Brienne Kordis, CODEPINK Media Liaison, firstname.lastname@example.org, 757-513-1934
Protesters Rally at BlackRock Shareholders Meeting
Coalition Calls on CEO Larry Fink & Shareholders to Stop Profiting on War & Violence
New York, NY – Today representatives and allies of the anti-war movement demonstrated in front of BlackRock’s Manhattan office across from the Lotte Palace Hotel where BlackRock’s shareholders will be attending their annual meeting.
Organizations including CODEPINK, Action Corps NYC, The Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance, Catholic Worker, the Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center, Enlace, Granny Peace Brigade, Gulf Coast Raging Grannies, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Muslims United for Justice, NYC Metro Raging Grannies, Peace Action New York State, Seeding Sovereignty, Show Up America, United for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, War Resisters League NYC, World Beyond War, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom protested the world’s largest shadow bank for its practice of investing in weapons manufacturers and companies that profit from war and violence, in the U.S. and around the world.
“The U.S. is engaged in seven active conflicts and is the world’s largest arms dealer, all while our domestic infrastructure crumbles and millions of Americans live in poverty,” says Ariel Gold, CODEPINK National Co-Director. “BlackRock and its shareholders are profiting from war and violence by investing in companies who export weapons around the world and into our communities.”
BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, controlling more than $5 trillion in assets. One of BlackRock’s iShares funds is exclusively dedicated to “defense spending” – in other words, a fund that is exclusively profiting off of weapons of war. BlackRock has $7.25 billion invested in Boeing; $3.3 billion in General Dynamics; $5.6 billion in Lockheed Martin; $3.4 billion in Northrop Grumman; and $4 billion in Raytheon. Additionally, BlackRock holds investments in civilian gun manufacturers such as Sturm Ruger, Remington, and American Outdoor Brands (formerly Smith & Wesson).
They position themselves as a company that is socially responsible, while they profit from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – the devastation of Yemen, which has been fueled by American made arms and munitions. BlackRock is raking in billions from these very weapons manufacturers, while Yemenis starve and die from treatable diseases. BlackRock’s investments are used to fuel war and violence around the world – in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course here in America. These weapons and the conflicts they fuel are responsible for the deaths of countless civilians. In Syria, thousands of civilians have been killed with U.S. weapons since 2014. In Yemen, one child dies every ten minutes from a preventable disease. In just the last seven weeks in Gaza, over a hundred Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire while peacefully protesting. And in America, 2018 has already seen 22 school shootings – while BlackRock remains the leading investor in American Outdoor Brands, America’s number one gun manufacturer.
The weapons funded by BlackRock’s investments breed instability at home and abroad. In 2012, the FBI released a report indicating that U.S. military intervention abroad was responsible for the rise in terrorism around the world and at home. Far from making us safer, the products made and sold by these companies are creating an endless cycle of violence which disrupts peace and security at home and around the world.
“BlackRock claims to hold companies accountable for being socially responsible citizens, while their executives and shareholders continue to profit off of the most morally-corrupt companies in the world. They are making a killing on killing,” says Sarah Eckel-Dalrymple, CODEPINK’s Divest from the War Machine Campaign Manager. “Corporate accountability must extend to those who hold the shares of these companies. There should be no profit from war and violence.”