In April 2010, author an activist Anna Baltzer visited Charlotte to explain what she has experienced in her travels to Israel and Palestine. You can read about her visit, where she encouraged her audience to "get real about peace in the Middle East," at CrossroadsCharlotte.org.
What Anna contends is that our perception of what is going on in Israel and Palestine is skewed, thanks in large part to our media and government shielding us from the reality that Israel is occupying Palestine and we are both our state and federal government paying millions upon millions to support that occupation in a time when we can barely cover our own bills.
Well, Anna got in touch yesterday to let me know about some companies that are also fueling and funding the strife in the Middle East. She also wants everyone to know that there will be a protest here in Charlotte next week bent on urging TIAA-CREF to stop investing in those companies, and thus the turmoil.
Here's more from Anna:
Next Tuesday, eyes will be on Charlotte, North Carolina, for a big protest outside the annual shareholder meeting of financial services giant TIAA-CREF! People are flying in from thousands of miles away. Will you be there?
For more than a year, tens of thousands of people around the country have taken part in the "We Divest" Campaign, calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Veolia, and other companies profiting from the Israeli occupation.
Last year, dozens protested outside TIAA-CREF's annual shareholder meeting in New York City. This year, TIAA-CREF moved the meeting to Charlotte, perhaps to avoid protests by supporters of Palestinian human rights?
I know from touring the region that TIAA-CREF has underestimated the Southeast! Let's show TIAA-CREF how people of conscience respond to organizations profiting from human rights abuses. Like Caterpillar, which also recently moved its shareholders meeting to try to avoid us, TIAA-CREF can run but it can't hide!
Email "We Divest" Campaign organizer Liza Behrendt now for more details.
View an invitation to Tuesday's protest, which you can download and distribute.
Protesters will deliver an open letter to TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson. Click here to sign it too!
With Charlotte's protest at the center, there will also be actions around the country on July 19th. New York City activists put on an amazing flash mob in Times Square to educate others about TIAA-CREF's investment in the occupation, and the day of action. View the inspiring video here and spread the word!
If you can't be in Charlotte, but still want to demonstrate, email "We Divest" Campaign organizer Lev Hirschhorn now.
Earlier this spring, TIAA-CREF -- which presents itself as committed to social responsibility and transparency -- suppressed a resolution proposed by shareholders asking TIAA-CREF to start engaging persuasively with companies profiting from the occupation.
Converge on Charlotte next Tuesday to tell TIAA-CREF to stop censoring its investors and to stop investing in the occupation!
Here's the video Anna referenced, which talks more about the planned Charlotte protest and the NYC flash mob: