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In historic move, CalSTRS divests from for-profit prison companies

Author: Emily Claire Goldman, Educators for Migrant Justice, Published on: 8 November 2018

On Wednesday, November 7th, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Board voted to divest from for-profit prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group over their widespread human rights abuses. This is one of the few times in CalSTRS’ history that advocates have successfully pushed the country’s second-largest pension fund to divest... Board members engaged in an emotional debate on the impact of CoreCivic and GEO Group’s facilities on migrants and local communities of color before Nora Vargas, a CalSTRS board member and social justice advocate, raised a motion to divest. The motion was quickly seconded and was then put to a vote where it passed with majority support... “This rejection of private prisons is a resounding vote against child separations and indefinite family detentions, not to mention mass incarceration.  Human dignity is the birthright of every human,” said Jonas LaMattery-Brownell a Berkeley Independent Studies Teacher who made a statement to CalSTRS’ Executive Officers during a meeting over the summer.

... It’s tax money for Californians. It’s our income, earned with the blood sweat and tears we shed caring for the children of the state,” explained Angela Coppola, a Berkeley High history teacher who first alerted colleagues of CalSTRS’ investments in the migrant abuse companies. CalSTRS’ decision puts mounting pressure on its sister fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), to follow suit and divest its holdings from CoreCivic and GEO Group.

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