Divest speak-out relates race and climate
December 8, 2015
A group of over 30 students marched up the marble steps of the Kimmel Center for University Life on Monday to call for the end of NYU’s involvement in the global fossil fuel industry.
Divest, a student group advocating to end the exploitation of climate change, as well as allies from Black Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Incarceration to Education Coalition were present at the event.
Students held posters with slogans demanding the university divest from its current investments and chanted loudly throughout the building’s lobby.
“We stand against violence, we stand against war. Climate justice is what we’re fighting for.”
Their speak-out, addressing climate, racism and conflict, featured three speakers and was staged in an attempt to raise awareness and momentum for the cause on a university-wide level.
Gallatin junior and IEC organizer Sumathy Kumar shared a statement she had previously written in support of NYU Divest’s movement. Kumar said the IEC supports the NYU Divest campaign in calling on NYU to cut ties with corporations that finance the climate crisis.
“We see climate crisis as intrinsically tied to colonialism, racism and capitalism,” Kumar said. “These systems work in tandem to oppress [people of color] by taking resources from poor and non-European communities to fuel power and privilege.”
CAS junior Olivia Rich said climate change cannot be addressed by simply switching out light bulbs. Rich said the community must challenge where we spend our money and what institutions and companies we support.
“That’s why divestment matters to me,” Rich said. “It’s actually standing up to the people who are causing climate change instead of just doing smaller fixes that don’t have any policy change or a broader impact beyond what just one person can do for the planet.”
CAS junior Alex Dahlberg said being a part of the movement brought a feeling of empowerment and unity.
“I think this is one of the most substantial ways that we can make a difference with climate change right now,” Dahlberg said. “I think it’s a huge movement across the world and climate change can sometimes make you feel helpless, but this is one way to know we’re making a conscious active change.”
Divest has been working for two years to get through the process of appealing to the university, from the student senate to the university senate. The group has finally been promised a meeting with the Board of Trustees by NYU President John Sexton but this has not yet come to fruition.
“It’s been since April, and we’re just waiting,” Dahlberg said. “So right now we’re just working to build up momentum, so that the school knows that we’re not going away, we’re putting pressure on them and that this is a really important issue that matters right now.”
Email Raven Quesenberry at [email protected]