Voices for Divestment: Maria Celes Lasaca Abragan

Maria Celes Lasaca Abragan, Middlebury College ‘18
For every active divestment organizer, there are dozens of students who support the movement in quieter, but no less personal ways. Maria Celes Lacasa Abragan, a Middlebury first-year from the Philippines, is one of those students. Vignesh Ramachandran from Divest Middlebury interviewed her, in the first of a series.

Vignesh: So, the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan just passed…may I ask you some questions about it?

Maria: Well, back home we called it Typhoon Yolanda. Sure, go ahead.

Did you see the typhoon?

I was studying Hong Kong at the time and the place where I live was also not directly affected by the typhoon. But I still saw the devastating effects of the typhoon… I live in one of the SOS Children’s Villages, an NGO that runs nine other alternate family houses across the Philippines. There was one Village that was directly in the path of the typhoon, and it was completely destroyed. I think I can find some pictures of that orphanage after the typhoon.

SOS Children’s Village after Typhoon Haiyan.












Children at SOS Children’s Village after Typhoon Haiyan.








Wow, that looks awful…Are those children okay?

Yeah, most of them. They were relocated to a different Village nearby

What do you think will happen when the next typhoon comes around?

Every year we have typhoons and nobody learns from it. Nobody learns from the mistakes they made the previous year, and it leads to the same tragedies the next year. Because of climate change we can expect more and more typhoons and if we can’t learn from our mistakes, the casualties will be greater every year.

I agree. That sounds intense… With the expectation of more frequent and more intense storms, what do you think should be done here at Middlebury?

See, there are things that we do every day like composting and recycling that, in a way, can help stop climate change from the bottom. However, divestment attacks climate change from the top of the system, attacking the financial prowess of the fossil fuel companies and letting change trickle down from there. That’s why the fossil fuel companies are afraid of the power of the divestment movement. It worked in the past and it has the possibility to work again.

I still think making individual change is important, but in order for real change to happen, it has to happen from the top.

Sometimes, I think its hard for people in the United States to think of climate change as a serious issue because we never see the effects. Thoughts on that?

The people who don’t believe in climate change are the biggest blow to our situation on the front lines of climate change. If they want to see climate change, they can come visit me in the Philippines.

Maria Celes Lasaca Abragan, Middlebury College ‘18

Maria Celes Lasaca Abragan, Middlebury College ‘18

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DSN Coordinating Committee Statement of Solidarity with Ferguson

Photo via 350 Massachusetts, taken by Pia Ward

Dear friends,

As many of you know, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided this week that police officer Darren Wilson will not be tried for shooting and the killing Michael Brown. People have taken to the streets in over 170 cities in the past few days to protest this decision and the judicial system that produces decisions like this one all too often.

The Coordinating Committee of the DSN condemns this decision. We do not believe that justice has been served in this case. Recent events highlight the broader failure of the judicial system to protect and serve black and brown communities in this country. We are saddened, we are angry and we are committed to working for racial justice now and for the rest of our lives.

Deirdre Smith, from 350.org, wrote an article called “Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson” this summer. In case you didn’t read it, it’s more relevant than ever. And if you did, read it again. From Deirdre’s piece:

As James Baldwin expressed, “if they come for you in the morning, they will come for us at night.” But solidarity and allyship is important in and of itself. The fossil fuel industry would love to see us siloed into believing that we can each win by ourselves on “single issues.” Now it’s time for the climate movement to show up– to show that we will not stand for the “otherizing” of the black community here in America, or anyone else.

We fight climate change because we understand this work to be critical, but fighting the many other manifestations of injustice in our society is equally critical. We understand that there are issues affecting communities like Michael Brown’s that cannot wait. Stopping climate change means addressing the root causes of the crisis, which are the same systems and industries that exploit black communities. Fighting for a viable future means also fighting for a just society. To create the world we envision, we need not only an end to fossil fuel extraction and climate change, but also an end to racism and violence against communities. We hope to find ways to shift our movement’s often passive racial justice politic into active engagement in racial justice work. If we do nothing about the systemic racism that allows Darren Wilson to avoid a trial altogether, our nation’s history of past and present injustice becomes our legacy.

It’s inspiring to see leaders from our movement taking action. Salish from Reed College attended protests this week, saying, “In Portland I stood in solidarity with Ferguson because systemic racism and police brutality protect a corporate state that should be protecting the people. As a white divestment organizer I realize that racial justice and climate organizing are often at odds. I want to work towards a world where the divestment movement practices real solidarity in dismantling white supremacy.” We have not yet figured out how to do this work, but we are going to try.

Organizers in Ferguson are calling for continued actions. On Monday, students will be staging walkouts on campus at 12:01pm CDT (1:01pm EDT, 10:01am PDT), the time that Michael Brown was murdered. See if students on your campus will be staging a walkout, and join in. And please share widely on social media using #HandsUpWalkOut. Click here for an image to share.

We will be sending out materials for hosting conversations about Ferguson, white supremacy, and our movement, so keep checking your email. We think having these conversations in our movement is critical to being in solidarity with the fight in Ferguson; so we are happy to support campuses in making these conversations happen.

We’d like to close with this quote from bell hooks: “The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom.” We choose to love because these issues are heavy, scary, and real, and we have to support each other throughout all of it to make transformative organizing happen. We believe that collective liberation is possible.

In love and solidarity,

The Coordinating Committee of the DSN
Greta, Jess, Lex, Kate, Varshini, Marli, Will, and Dylan

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Building Towards Strategic Escalation

by Sara Blazevic, Swarthmore College 

reposted from gofossilfree.org

The summer after my freshman year of college – and my first year working on Swarthmore Mountain Justice’s fossil fuel divestment campaign – I went down to West Virginia to witness mountaintop removal coal mining firsthand, and to hear the stories of people who had been directly impacted by the coal industry. I returned to Swarthmore wanting to organize tree sits on the main walkway of our campus and looking forward to attaching myself to a member of our Board of Managers via U-lock, a la many of the direct actions I’d heard about Appalachian anti-extraction activists taking. I wanted our campaign to escalate because I felt the urgency of the climate crisis much more vividly while in West Virginia than while on Swarthmore’s pristine campus, and I thought that escalating meant bringing that urgency to our Board through highly confrontational tactics.

It seems incredibly obvious in hindsight that employing any of these “escalatory” tactics would have been a disaster. But at the time, what seemed obvious to me was that, if only Swarthmore Mountain Justice (MJ) could demonstrate to our Board the clarity of the connections between our investments and the destruction wrought by the fossil fuel industry, we would win. Our logic was as follows: If we force them to listen to us, they’ll be forced to acknowledge the moral necessity of divestment. They’re not climate deniers, after all – they just need to be educated on how their choices are impacting the world beyond Swarthmore, and then they will be spurred to action. We believed that our most valuable tools as student activists were the cogence of our arguments and the raw power of our actions.

Obviously, that wasn’t true. We repeatedly presented the Board with excellent arguments, testifying in Board meetings, meeting with them one-on-one, publishing op-eds, articles, and reports, and bringing socially responsible investment professionals to speak on campus. We delivered the petition signatures of a majority of the student body, and flooded a Board meeting with over 200 students. And yet, we did not win.

In the nearly four years since students at Swarthmore College decided to start a fossil fuel divestment campaign, we’ve had time to make lots of mistakes and learn a ton. The short version of of our “lessons learned”: in order to win, we need to build power.

MJ’s unsuccessful escalation two years ago taught me that, if we are truly in this movement for the long haul, we cannot afford to waste our energy on actions that set up unrealistic expectations and leave us feeling demoralized, disempowered, and unsure of our next move. If we believe that it will take a massive social movement to transition our society away from fossil fuels, it is imperative that our campaigns take the time to:

1) develop the leadership of members so that we don’t just mobilize activists to turn up for our protests, but actively work to produce organizers, who will take their skills into the world beyond college and apply them to ongoing social justice struggles;

2) engage deeply and critically with the power dynamics we are working to move, so that when we are ready to apply pressure to power-holders, we know what to expect.

While flash-in-the pan actions can serve to recruit new people, re-energize members, and make campaigns more visible, when they are not situated within a long-term strategy plan and a vision, they cannot win a campaign. Every action we plan needs to have a clear purpose and logic to it, that is intentionally connected to what comes next. Working with our campaigns to develop strategic plans means working to answer the questions, What will public support (i.e. students, staff, faculty, and Board members) for each of our campaigns look like at the moment of victory? How will we get there? What are some of the major moments along the way?

This allows us to develop our tone of engagement, our messaging, and the power that is being leveraged through actions, over time, instead of starting from scratch every time we want to apply pressure to our targets. More importantly, we need to keep in mind that our actions, no matter how creatively-conceived or carefully executed, cannot substitute for the work of organizing people through building relationships, training on different campaign skills, and learning what each member of our organization needs to work on in order to feel empowered.

It’s incredibly exciting for me to look at how far the fossil fuel divestment movement has come in such a short time. During my first year working on Swarthmore Mountain Justice’s campaign, I never even heard the word “movement” attached to “fossil fuel divestment” – and now, in the last week alone, fossil fuel divestment has been covered by the New York Times three times. Now that we’ve built a youth movement with legs, we have a responsibility to use our power wisely. That is why, when the fossil fuel divestment movement escalates, I don’t mean that we’ll be getting out our U-locks. I mean that we will be coordinating a strategic escalation that builds wide support for fossil fuel divestment across the country and makes it exponentially harder for our colleges and universities to continue upholding the fossil fuel-dominated status quo.

Imagine actions on twenty (or thirty, or forty) campuses around the country, taking place over the course of several weeks, ranging from building occupations to performance art to rallies and marches, each demonstrating the power built by their individual campaigns while reinforcing the narrative that the fossil fuel divestment movement is connected, is powerful, and is continuing to grow.

Here’s to a winter of building power and strategizing together, in anticipation of an impactful spring.

To talk with other campaigns that are planning to escalate over the course of this year, join this google group: nest-divest@googlegroups.com.

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Why I’m going to Ferguson

Editor's note: Organizers in Ferguson, MO have called on all supporters to join them October 10-13 for a weekend of resistance. If you are able, please make the trip to Ferguson to stand in solidarity with those experiencing the impacts of racial injustice and police brutality. Many fossil fuel divestment activists are heading to Ferguson this weekend; visit fergusonoctober.com for more information and to sign up to join them. And please fill out this form if you are going to Ferguson and want to connect with other climate movement folks working to act in solidarity.

by Sam Neubauer
Climate Justice Coalition
Carleton College

I am conflicted. Not about whether or not I should go to Ferguson, I can feel that it is the place where I should be next weekend. I am conflicted about why I am going. In organizing we are often asked to critically examine what our personal interest is in a struggle. There is a challenging quote from an Aboriginal activist group often attributed to Lilla Watson, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.” My liberation is bound up with Ferguson, even though I am a white upper-class male.

When I was in high school and middle school, I faced a deep disconnect with myself. As a kid who was always a little off, I was pushed into a social role in school that wasn’t true to the person I really was. I identify as asexual, which for me means that I don’t experience sexual pleasure, and I don’t really fit with a traditional notion of masculinity. But I didn’t recognize this at the time and was pushed into performing a social role I didn’t feel. Even more, I didn’t even know that I was disconnected. Over time this took its toll, and I became detached from those around me, the earth, and my emotions. For six years I don’t remember feeling any emotions, except the knowledge that I was a little broken. I don’t think that anyone fits into the “ideal person” that our society projects, and even for someone who was very privileged I faced that real pain. The toll is in some ways not even comparable to the oppression others have faced, yet I know through my experience that whiteness and patriarchy take the humanity of white men too.

So when it comes to fighting white supremacy and broadly all systems of oppression, the stake is personal too. Going to to Ferguson is a powerful statement of solidarity and I believe a critical time in the building of a racial justice movement. The shooting of Mike Brown and the ongoing protests in response are the most visible edge of a serious racial problem, and we have the opportunity to help push this edge to set a new paradigm around racism and police brutality now. Coming together in times like these strengthens connections, and I know will challenge me to see how I can be a better anti-racist organizer. So I see myself and our movements all having an opportunity to grow and become even stronger, in this case centered around fighting police brutality and white supremacy. But the logics and systems used to support one form of oppression are used to support all others; by tackling white supremacy I am fighting patriarchy too.

I could stop here with my personal stake in going to Ferguson, but as a climate justice organizer, I also felt it was important to write about the climate movement’s place in Ferguson. After all that is how I became engaged (check out the climate contingent to Ferguson here). For me, climate justice recognizes the interlocking nature of systems of oppression, and how we have to fighting them all is not only right, but also the most strategic way to take down “our issue”. The fossil fuel industry depends on the logic of domination from unchecked capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy and other oppressive systems in order to make their profit. Much of our coal and oil extraction occurs in Indigenous lands across the United States and the world. Tar sands extraction in Alberta relies heavily on the marginalization of the First Nations in order to be able to extract from their land. Both the refining and burning of fossil fuels are disproportionately placed in low-income communities of color, demonstrating the industry’s reliance on classism and racism. Without these systems of domination they could not spew their poison into communities.

But they aren’t just using these systems either, since the industry reinforces them too. Every year the fossil fuel industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying our congress to continue their extraction and poisoning of black and brown communities. This is used to help them profit off of the destruction of our climate. Police brutality and the prison-industrial complex help to control marginalized populations, and keep them from reclaiming their power. So when I look at the struggle in Ferguson I see something that directly connects to my work as a climate justice organizer. A more detailed article on these intersections can be found here.

Yet writing about this doesn’t feel right to me. My heart is telling me this is not the most true reason for me to be organizing my school to go to Ferguson. The intersections of our work are real, and by going to Ferguson I am indeed fighting for my liberation as well. But is self-interest really the most powerful piece of motivation that I can have? Why should I need to see the struggle in Ferguson as important only when I can fit it into a logic of my own self-interest? I could make an argument here but I feel the best person to do it is bell hooks, from the essay Love as the Practice of Freedom:

Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or the other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination-imperialism, sexism, racism, classism. It has always puzzled me that women and men who spend a lifetime working to resist and oppose one form of domination can be systematically supporting another. I have been puzzled by powerful visionary black male leaders who can speak and act passionately in resistance to racial domination and accept and embrace sexist domination of women, by feminist white women who work daily to eradicate sexism but who have major blind spots when it comes to acknowledging and resisting racism and white supremacist domination of the planet. Critically examining these blind spots, I condude that many of us are motivated to move against domination solely when we feel our self-interest directly threatened. Often, then, the longing is not for a collective transformation of society, an end to politics of dominations, but rather simply for an end to what we feel is hurting us. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our self-centered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politic of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual and collective quests for freedom and liberation.

So I suppose the reason I feel conflicted about relating Ferguson to my self-interest is because I believe in the power of a “love ethic”. I have strived in my life to reconnect with myself, others and the earth, but that is not as easy as I first thought. In order to connect to others we must choose to love, but opening myself to loving others who are suffering mean that I have in some ways invited their suffering into my life too. So it is painful for me to watch news on Ferguson, but that pain doesn’t stop this from being an incredible time for me to express my love, by taking effective action. I can feel the draw to Ferguson now from my heart.

So yes, I am a white upper-class male who hasn’t been directly affected by systematic police violence. But I love those who have been or who will be in the future. Isn’t a love for all of humanity the most powerful reason we can have to engage in the struggle? I am going back to bell hooks, we need to choose love in our lives. When I say that I feel I need to go to Ferguson, I am saying that today I am choosing to love. It will be powerful, I will stand in solidarity, and together we will take part in the building of a more beautiful movement. I hope that wherever you are during the weekend of resistance, you too will join me in choosing to love.

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The biggest climate march in history is just the beginning

by Lex Barlowe
Divest Yale // DSN Coordinating Committee

The People’s Climate March and the surrounding events were an incredible moment for our movement. On Saturday, September 20th, we gathered at the Youth Convergence with hundreds of high school and college students from across the country. In the divestment track of the convergence, we continued to dig deep as we explored things such as how fossil fuel divestment fits into the larger climate justice movement and how we can absorb the momentum from the March into our movement. Earlier in the day, we linked up by talking to others from our regions about some of the big questions like, What’s your stake in this fight? Why do you think divestment is powerful? and Why do you want to win? Through this, we were not only able to stay grounded in our belief that building relationships will build power for our movement, but also continue to revisit why we do this work.

PCM Youth Bloc

The next day, we took action. With 50,000 students, in a march of over 400,000 people, student divestment organizers showed up in force. Months of hard organizing were put into the People’s Climate March, and it was every bit as beautiful that Sunday as we could have imagined - perhaps more so. The March was a stunning display of unity and power, and showed all of us what we can accomplish when we come together. As divestment organizers, we know that we are just one part of something bigger, that climate justice is a movement of movements, and we must connect in meaningful ways with other, parallel organizing. This means off-campus fossil fuel divestment organizers, but also others that showed up at the march, like unions, faith-based institutions, and powerful frontline-based organizing like the Our Power Campaign. It evoked feelings of positivity, joy, and hope - things we will all need as we strengthen our movement every day.

But the action didn’t end there. On Monday, the day after the March, thousands sat in on Wall Street to make the connection between our economic system and the climate crisis. #FloodWallStreet had a very different tone than the People’s Climate March, but was every bit as necessary. Student divestment organizers showed up to name that the reason schools have been getting divestment rejections is directly linked to Wall Street. We know that our school boards’ judgement is being clouded by corporate interests, sometimes coming in the form of Wall Street execs sitting directly on our boards, which makes divestment all the more difficult. We shut down the streets for hours to call out the root causes of the climate crisis and all the other injustices that are bound up within it, to show that climate change is just a consequence of an unjust system.

This inspiring weekend was just the beginning. We know how powerful our movement is, and are excited to see what can happen when we begin to coordinate together, regionally and nationally. Next step: 7 regional divestment trainings this fall!

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Reflections from the 2014 Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence

by Eva Chaitman  (Earlham College REInvestment)

Two weekends ago, five of us from Earlham’s REInvestment Campaign attended the 2014 Fossil Free Divestment Convergence at San Francisco State University. Upward of 250 students attended the convergence, representing divestment and re-investment campaigns across the country. Together we discussed, compared, and strategized. We listened to speakers and attended workshops run by inspiring individuals who had dedicated their lives to creating real change in the world. What I learned from this convergence was enlightening and uplifting. I’d like to highlight in this article some of the points impressed upon me over the course of the weekend.

Mission Statement of Earlham College REInvestment Campaign:The Responsible Energy Investment (“REInvestment”) campaign is a student-led campaign at Earlham College that is asking our school to divest its endowment from dirty fossil fuel companies and reinvest responsibly. The targets of our campaign are companies that extract coal, tar sands oil, and fracked natural gas — companies that are responsible for numerous EPA violations and pollution-related illnesses/deaths, not to mention the greenhouse gases and toxic fumes that fossil fuels emit.”

Intersectionality and Solidarity of Divestment Campaign

Fossil fuel industries are the worst perpetrators of global climate change and environmental destruction. However the cost of continuing our support for these companies has a much broader scope. Fossil fuel industries create a web of intersectional problems. During her workshop “Decolonizing Lands, Minds, and Institutions” activist Hena Belalia of Peaceful Uprising challenged us to become educated on the “overlapping systems of oppression” in which the fossil fuel industry is planted. Coal companies not only exploit the environment, but also reproduce exploitation and oppression of marginalized communities around the world. Fossil fuel industries are a part of a system in which students experience overwhelming debt, indigenous peoples lose their lands, and inmates are treated as commodities in a prison system likened to a corporate business. Fossil fuel industries are a part of a web of broad economic forces in which institutions and industries puts profit gain over the well being of people. As a movement, we must learn how divestment from fossil fuel connects and attacks a multispectral problem. Dialogue with others is key to creating diverse solutions. Solidarity between ideologies and movements can facilitate the power needed to create change. This movement is a tactic, among others, to halting the overarching problem of unethical economics where environmental destruction parallels with social injustice. In working with the system in which we are embedded, there is a means through which tangible and strategic change can be made in fabricating a more sustainable economy.

Right to be Angry

During his opening speech, co-founder of Peaceful Uprising, Tim DeChristopher emphasized our generation’s right to be angry towards the generation that has understood the fossil fuel industry’s harmful effects long before we were born. The generation that precedes us has continued an acceptance of institution and industry that actively jeopardize our futures. Dramatic climate change, increasing imbalance between the poor and the prosperous, and expanding economic uncertainty have been widely acknowledged as examples of the heightening destruction present within our world. However, industries and institutions continue to remain in state of what DeChristopher condemns as being “complacent”. While the world that our generation is now responsible for continues to disintegrate, the institutions from which we ask for help remain comfortable in their decisions to be indifferent to our efforts. In trivializing us from positions of complacent power, the extent of suffering which our generation must face is deemed unimportant. But business must go on as usual; this is the disregarding mindset that we must continuously confront.

Elevated voices

REInvestment does not mean economic hardship for an institution. Rather, REInvestment, through conscientious, responsible, and tactical moves in equally resilient investment decisions, only seeks to render a healthier environmental, social, and economic climate. This earth upon which an increasingly smaller percentage of us thrive, has been mishandled and ultimately destructed. We must facilitate real change at an institutional level to curb the destructive path upon which we reside. The divestment movement, which includes Earlham’s REInvestment campaign, is a conglomeration of elevated voices. With love and passion for the environment, the marginalized and oppressed around us, as well as with fear for the uncertainty for the future of our collective well-being, we demand change. We ask, and we will not stop asking until the change we seek is created. DeChristopher said,“The job of students in the climate movement is to be the uncompromising moral of truth.” We will not compromise on present and future conditions of our world. We ask for an unambiguous and decisive action that acknowledges the importance of this movement. Through our collective voices, we hope to move our institutions away from playing by the safety of written norms, to making decisions according to what is right and just.

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Check out our program that will be available to everyone at the convergence. If you loose your copy, no worries that’s why this is on the website! :)Orange Square Cover

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Updated: Convergence Programming

Amazing people are coming to the Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence. Check out their bios and workshop descriptions on our newly updated Programming Page!

Here’s a sneak peak:

Gopal Dayaneni is a member of Movement Generation. Gopal has worked for social, economic, and environmental justice through organizing & campaigning, teaching, writing, and speaking since the late 1980′s. He has been a campaigner for Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition on human rights and environmental justice in the high-tech industry and the Oil Campaigner for Project Underground, a human rights and environmental rights organizations which supported communities resisting oil and mining exploitation around the world. Gopal has also provided progressive organizations with support in Strategic Communications and Campaign Planning through the Design Action Collective and is an active trainer and organizer with the Ruckus Society and a member of the Progressive Communicators Network. Gopal is also an elementary and early childhood educator, working formerly as a teacher and as the co-director of the Tenderloin Childcare Center, a community based childcare center supporting children and families forced into homelessness.

Deirdre Lally is an organizer and organic farmer in rural central Pennsylvania.  After years spent in campaigns against mountaintop-removal coal financiers, she learned that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas had come to her family’s home on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, and began organizing.  Since gas drilling’s arrival in PA in the early 2000′s, she has been involved in direct action campaigns to protect state forests from drilling, quick-response community support efforts such as Save Riverdale, and is now involved in a listening project in a heavily fracked county in PA and community outreach and movement base-building work with the Shalefield Organizing Committee.

Freddy Lozano: Born in Barranquilla, Colombia and a union leader and social activist since 1990, Freddy studied Industrial Maintenance in Colombia’s main technical institute. He has completed his seventh semester in the Simón Bolívar University Law School in Barranquilla. He has been president of the Puerto Bolívar chapter of the National Union of Workers in the Coal Industry (SINTRACARBÓN).  In 2009, he received the first “positive” prize awarded by Public Eye in Davos, Switzerland, for his work supporting the communities affected by the Cerrejón coal complex.  He works for the CERREJON company (owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American, and Xstrata), which operates the largest open-pit coal mine in Latin America.

Nació en Barranquilla, Colombia y dirigente sindical y social desde 1990, Freddy estudió Mantenimiento Industrial en la principal escuela técnica de Colombia, actualmente cursa séptimo semestre de derecho en la Universidad Simón Bolívar de Barranquilla.  Ha sido presidente por tres ocasiones de la seccional Puerto Bolívar del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria del Carbón (SINTRACARBÓN). El año 2009 se hace merecedor al primer premio “positivo” que entrega el ‘Public Eye en Davos Suiza por su labor a favor de las comunidades  vecinas al complejo Carbonífero “El Cerrejón”.  Es trabajador de la empresa CERREJON, multinacional (bhp billiton, Anglo American, Xstrata) que explota la mina de carbón a cielo abierto más grande de América Latina.

977097_591493977551722_1714496320_o.jpgMarcel Jones is the Chair of the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley and resident of Afro House (part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative), Marcel Jones is a student organizer dedicated to communal resistance and cross-cultural coalition building.  Marcel has experience participating in multiple organizing  spaces including the UC Berkeley divestment campaigns from Israeli occupation and the Prison Industrial Complex.  Current efforts that Marcel is working on include the No2Napolitano campaign, UC Prison Divestment, increasing resources for Black students, chairing a conference addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, and increasing people of color cooperatives. Coming from a power to the people mentality and an intersectional framework, Marcel believes in leading with dreams rooted in a critical analysis of our realities.


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Interested in helping with coverage of the the Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence?

We want your help to tell the (amazing) story of the next wave of the youth climate justice movement.

We are recruiting for a team of “social media storytellers” - people who fan out everyday of the national convergence and help spotlight the conversations, and people, who are building and evolving the fossil fuel divestment movement. We’ll be meme-ing, blogging, tweeting, photographing, instagramming, and more.

We’re having a special “social storytelling training” on Friday, 4/4 - the first day of the National Convergence, at SFSU. The training will feature a introduction to movement storytelling, hard-won tips on breaking through on social media, and a lesson on how to make your own memes. It will also be a really good chance for all of us to get to know each other and start jamming.

Joining this team is a great way to meet fellow divestment activists. We’ll be getting together everyday of the convergence to hang out and tell amazing stories. No skills needed - just passion!

Interested in joining this kick-ass team?  Please fill out this form!

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Call for Project Proposals

Are you interested in planning a National Divestment Day of Action? What about organizing a regional network of divestment campaigns in your area? Are you designing a multi-campus art installation, focused on the impacts of fossil fuel extraction? Bring your ideas for collaboration and movement-building to the Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence!

Convergence-Logos_Megaphone-01CALL FOR PROJECT PROPOSALs

This year’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence, hosted by San Francisco State University, is a gathering of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network!  We will be coming together in-person to share skills, stories, and strategies. During the final block of programming, students will break-out into ten focus groups to workshop proposals for projects, such as a National Divestment Day of Action or a multi-campus art installation. This will be a space for fostering cross-campus organizing and building stronger ties between divestment campaigns that will carry us through the rest of the semester and into next year!

Our goals for these projects:

Dig Deep- Organize!  low-slow organizing, root causes analyses, intersectional movement building, anti-oppression, building organizing skills for the long haul, relationship-building within divestment/climate world and outside of it (we see this as the work necessary to “scale up” and grow the movement)

Link Up- connecting across campuses, with community and frontline groups, and with other justice movements; forming regional networks and the DSN; organizing convergences, meet-ups; cross-movement coalition building; organizing around shared targets (ie, fund managers)

Take Action- Mobilize! taking *strategic* action; direct action tactics, escalation, days of action, regional actions, mass mobilizations

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