I don't know about you, but sometimes it feels hard or even superficial to focus on work while seeing the heartbreaking stories of immigrant families being separated at the border. I'm frequently reminded of the saying, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." So how do we channel that outrage toward change? Of course, we can all call our representatives, protest, and donate. But how do we also leverage our positions in financial services to make pragmatic steps forward with the financial levers available to us? I have some thoughts.
I get a fair amount of news via Twitter and my feed is an interesting place these days- it's a mix of financial articles and people using their platforms to call attention to the human rights abuses happening at the border. One of the trends I'm seeing emerge is a confluence of those two themes. Reporters are investigating which companies are profiting from immigration detention centers. Organizations are targeting the revenues of those companies. And influential individuals are publicly pressuring institutional investors to divest. I predict that there may soon be a more cohesive movement to divert capital from those companies or disrupt them in other ways.
We've seen ESG and SRI funds and managers do this before: divesting from and even short selling private prisons, some of which are the same companies currently benefiting from increased incarceration of immigrants. Here's an impact interview I did with Matthew Blume of Appleseed on that topic last year. Do your clients own private prison stocks GEO or CXW directly or inside of funds?
We can speak our values with our voices, our votes, and our dollars- spending, saving, lending and investing. Following the money flowing to the immigrant detention centers and trying to have a financial impact is one lever we can use. And though that alone isn't enough to fix the problem, it's the lever we have access to; so let's pull it.
Together Rising- This organization "helps the helpers" by researching where to donate, and pooling funds.
ACLU - defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
RAICES- provides free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees. Donate and read about this organization via Facebook as traffic has overwhelmed their website.
Women Take Action Fund- Funding bail money and direct action training for women for the June 28 action mentioned below.
Women Take Action - Direct action/ civil disobedience in Washington DC on June 28
Families Belong Together - Rallies around the country on June 30
Call Your Representatives & Voting
Rock the Vote - Register to vote!
5 Calls - Gives you phone numbers and scripts to call your reps.