The march precedes Sunday’s vote by the California Democratic Party to potentially ban donations from these groups.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Some students say they want the state to stop investing their teachers’ retirement funds in fossil fuels. That’s one of the activists’ demands on Friday as they walked from the California State Teachers Retirement System building to the Capital Steps.
History has shown us that fossil fuels have a disproportionate impact on black, brown and indigenous populations. It is called environmental racism, and now activists challenge elected officials who participate, whether by accepting money from the industry or by investing in it.
“You cannot ‘be for the young’ and destroy our future at the same time,” said 13-year-old Jasia Hilaski.
“You can’t take fossil fuel out of the fossil fuel companies,” she added. “It’s like saying you want a paper mill to stop producing paper.”
At 13, Jasia sends a message directly to the country’s second public pension fund, CalSTRS, which she says invests billions in fossil fuels.
“Don’t you find it ironic that teachers spend their entire lives improving the future of their students when their money is invested in the exact opposite? she asked the crowd of activists.
Ramauri Cash is 14 years old.
“Environmental racism touches me really deeply because my grandmother lives in a low income, poverty stricken area and they have placed a very large oil refinery right next to her neighborhood,” Ramauri said.
He said the adornment took a toll on his grandmother’s health, starting with her asthma.
Vianni Ledesma traveled all the way from San Diego to participate in the march.
“It has become clear that what really hinders our progress is the influence of fossil fuel money on our parties and politicians,” Ledesma said.
Their request is not just for CalSTRS.
“Our request to Newsom is to stop authorizing a new fossil fuel structure,” she added. Again, it makes so much sense to support a dying industry that is killing us and our planet. “
Their request also goes beyond Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Come this weekend, we hope to be successful and get the party to vote yes on removing fossil fuels and police money from the party,” Ledesma said.
Sunday, California Democratic Party is about to vote on the ban on donations from major interest groups such as police unions, utility companies etc.
In a statement, CalSTRS said it agrees that climate change is a risk to its portfolio and to everyone’s future:
“CalSTRS agrees that climate change is a risk to our portfolio and to our future. With that in mind, the Teachers’ Retirement Board is committed to achieving a net zero investment portfolio by 2050 or sooner. This commitment is aligned with the many steps we have taken to help combat the effects of climate change and is rooted in our promise to provide a safe retirement for California public educators and their families. I applaud activists in California and around the world for raising awareness of the serious risk of climate change. We share their sense of urgency.