Call to Action! Help Push Prison Divestment in Portland!
October 16, 2016
For the month of October, the City is taking public comment to advise them on their process of implementing our Socially Responsible Investment policy. Before October 31st, we ask that each of you take time to submit public comment on behalf of your organization urging the City to add prison profiteers to the Do-Not-Buy list.
Effective public comment could include: 1. A brief description of your organization’s mission and constituency (who and how many)
2. An ask to accept the Socially Responsible Investment Committee’s recommendations to add 10 corporations to the City’s Do-Not-Buy list, including prison profiteers Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC
3. A description of the impact of prisons, immigrant detention and criminalization on your community
4. A personal testimony/story from yourself or a constituent
5. Other analysis you would like to share about your views on criminalization, prisons, and how we can divest from incarceration and state control and reinvest in communities of color.
We also encourage you to take a stand for international liberation, and stand against the displacement and violence against the people of Palestine. Please include: · A solidarity ask to add Caterpillar to the Do-Not-Buy list for their role in the US-Israeli Occupation of Palestine
In order to submit your testimony, you will need to create a PDF on your letterhead, create a login with the City of Portland, and upload your PDF into the City’s comment portal. Please send a copy of your comment to Enlace as well! Portland is leading the country, and we are excited to be part of this movement with you.
Pushing Portland to divest from prison profiteers background:
On October 1st, the City’s Socially Responsible Investment committee released this report, which recommends adding Wells Fargo, the Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC, all prison profiteers, to the City’s Do-Not-Buy list. They have also recommended adding Caterpillar to the list for its role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as several other corporations.
In addition, they take a further step and suggest changes to the SRI process that would allow them to create a permanent screen for prison profiteers (!!) and make recommendations to the Procurement department, and allude to ending the city’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo (double !!) In short, the SRI committee has worked with a lot of integrity and diligence, and has come up with recommendations that echo the values that are held by many Portlanders.
On November 30th, the City Council will vote on whether to accept these recommendations. We will be mobilizing to pack City Hall and provide testimony on the impact that the Prison Industrial Complex has had on our families and communities.
If the City of Portland decides to add prison profiteers Wells Fargo, the Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC to the Do-Not-Buy list, this will mark the first divestment victory nationally against the financial backers of the prison industry – and create a model for other cities, universities, and other funds to follow.