As a member of the coalition to Divest from the War Machine we want to keep you informed about what is happening across the country. The coalition is off to a good start in the new year, gaining energy from the optimism in the air. This month, we’re focused on asking all the incoming progressives in our new Congress to support life-affirming projects instead of the war machine by pledging no campaign donations from the big war profiteers. But we can’t do this on our own. Will you help us by asking your Congresspersons to take the pledge?
Need help? Want your Congressperson to sign our divestment pledge? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll support you at your local office and in Washington DC. The goal is to get your Congresspersons to sign this pledge, committing to not taking campaign donations from the top five weapons manufacturers and the NRA. You can visit your official’s local office, then we’ll follow up the next day at the DC office on your behalf! And if you want to engage your Congresspersons in DC, we can do it together and you can even stay with us at the Pink House! Wherever you are, don’t forget to print out the pledge and take it with you. You also might find our toolkit useful for planning meetings with your elected officials.
Along with asking Congress to divest from war, here’s what we’ve been up to:
Oregonians join CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans at her farm near Eugene on February 17th to help kickoff our divest Oregon Public Employees Retirement System from war campaign! Bring your good ideas, your compassion, and your activism skills or desire to learn and we’ll help the team get started. We’re teaming up with our colleagues at World Beyond War to build a Statewide coalition to divest Oregon from the war machine. The next steps will require research, growing the coalition by including local organizations who can help, and by planning meetings and testimonies. RSVP to join.
Stop Israeli War Crimes, Divest from Elbit
Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, is taking its death and destruction mainstream by selling glasses to bicyclists so they can ride like an F-35 fighter jet pilot. During the week of December 18, CODEPINK activists in California and New York visited b8ta stores asking the high-tech gadgets store to stop selling Everysight Raptor cycling goggles, which are built using the same technology Elbit uses to kill protestors in Gaza. In New York City, 20 activists with CODEPINK organized alternative carolling outside the b8ta stores. See video here and here!
On December 3, CODEPINK delivered a letter to international investment firm BNY Mellon urging the bank to divest from Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapon company which manufactures technologies used by drones to kill protestors in Gaza and for surveillance along Israel’s apartheid wall. Mellon positions itself as a socially responsible investment firm committed to UN Sustainable development goals. Yet, they profit from death and repression by investing in Elbit and other problematic corporations such as CoreCivic--the largest for-profit immigrant detention company. On December 22, HSBC bank in the UK announced it would divest from Elbit Systems. Join us in calling BNY Mellon to be the next bank to divest from Israeli War Crimes.
On Friday, January 4th, CODEPINK joined Voices for Creative Nonviolence and local activists in New York City in the “Fast for Yemen” action. We protested Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons manufacturer in the world. This summer, US-supported Saudi forces dropped a Lockheed Martin bomb in Yemen, killing over 40 innocent school children. It’s unacceptable that our tax dollars support American companies making a killing from killing. We will continue to demand they #DivestFromWar!
Last year, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) divested from two U.S. private prison companies Core Civic and GEO Group. Both companies hold federal immigration contracts, which enforce the violent policies, such as family separation at the border, of the Trump administration. After engaging with the companies, CalSTRS asserted that investing in the Core Civic and GEO Group would pose a risk to their investors. This year, we are urging CalSTRS to divest from General Dynamics. Not only does the company contract with federal immigration authorities, but it is one of the top defense companies in the world. CalSTRS has invested millions in a company which has been implicated in war crimes and the loss of countless innocent lives. In one of the most egregious cases, 54 were killed, 44 of whom were children, and more wounded in an airstrike on a Yemeni school bus with remnants of a General Dynamics guided metal fin found at the scene. Join CalSTRS members in urging the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to end its complicity in the war on Yemen.
Divesting our schools, our congresspeople, and our communities from the war machine takes all hands on deck! We’re always looking for more volunteers. Interested? Fill out our volunteer form to help us connect you with the right project locally or nationally. Not sure how you can contribute? We could use the help of folks with all imaginable skills and abilities. Don’t forget to check out our coalition website and resources page for guides on divesting from the war machine. When you’re ready to join or start a campaign in your area let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re poised to turn this new Congress into a serious challenge to the war machine!
Toward a weapons free world,
Maya and the CODEPINK Divest team