Yesterday was Divest UW’s most important day yet. As one member posted on Facebook, “We have the Board’s attention! We have momentum! We will get this University to divest…come Hell or high water!” The day began with a pep talk from Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien who talked about how the City of Seattle became the first city to publicly commit to divestment from fossil fuel companies. It was encouraging to hear how quickly the City chose to move on divestment.
After Councilmember O’Brien’s talk we gathered our whole crowd and climbed a back staircase to the fourth floor of the Allen Library. We stood outside the meeting room with our signs, purple t-shirts, and excitement as members of the Board of Regents squeezed through our crowd to get ready for their meeting. We packed the seats and lined the sides and rear of the room with divestment supporters from UW, Seattle’s new 350 group, and local supporters. Since the Board wouldn’t let us get on their actual agenda we stacked the entire public comment period with divestment presentations. Sarra Tekola, John Crawford-Gallagher, Joshua Cowgill, Robbie Marsh, and Kyle Murphy, organizers with Divest UW, spoke with clarity and conviction to the Regents who listened politely and read a prepared statement. Of course, we knew they wouldn’t give much response; our success was capturing their attention for a few minutes.
Then we tried to keep their attention. The group left the Regents with a nearly empty room and gathered outside their window. With the help of a megaphone Noam Gaster lead us in songs and chants. Speakers filled the air with passionate calls for divestment and the many reasons why our university should not associate itself with companies looking to destroy our future.
Thanks to all who came out in support of divestment yesterday. You made our day an incredible success! Let’s keep up the momentum come Hell or high water! (and we know at least one of those is on the way…)
Check out some of the press coverage we’ve received so far and our Facebook page for more pictures.
- Students to Regents: UW should rid itself of oil, coal stocks (seattlepi.com)
- Washington students rally at Board of Regents to get school to divest in oil and gas stocks (Free Speech Radio News)
- UW Students Call On Regents To Divest From Fossil Fuels (climatechangeforfamilies.com)
- UW Divestment in Fossil Fuels Urged in Rally on Campus Thursday (seattleenvironmentalactivists.wordpress.com)
Video: Watch the speeches courtesy of David McFatridge at Seattle 350.
If you have photos or video please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!