As their ABC Divestment Resolution demands, divestment from private prisons by the UC is not complete until the $425 million invested in Wells Fargo Bank is dealt with appropriately. Wells Fargo Bank has never been the ally of Black, working class, and migrant people or the intersection thereof. Like many banks, Wells Fargo is well known for their discriminatory lending practices in Black and brown neighborhoods. Wells Fargo also acts as a syndication agent and issuing lender on CCA’s $900 million line of credit, serves as a trustee to Geo Group’s $300 million corporate debt, and is a Million Shares Club member. As a Million Shares Club member, Wells Fargo owns over one million shares in CCA and Geo Group, effectively financing the dehumanization of Black and migrant people. The private prison industry shows little concern for our people and demonstrates few signs of stopping without direct action from organizations like Enlace, Responsible Endowments Coalition, and ABC. Unless Wells Fargo immediately cancels all of its business relationships with private prisons, the $425 million the UC has invested in Wells Fargo must be divested immediately. ABC Field Organizer Kamilah Moore states:
“In order for the UC’s mission to be fulfilled, it is imperative to assess investments not only from a risk perspective, but from a socially responsible perspective as well. Our campaign is not over. We will continue to call for complete divestment, increased transparency, and reinvestment in education and businesses owned or controlled by the formerly incarcerated.”
Wells Fargo’s direct financing of the prison industrial complex is morally bankrupt and incongruous with the UC’s sustainable centennial investing strategies. The UC Investment Report clearly states that “[a]s long-term investors, we seek the sustained returns associated with strong governance, rather than the rapid gains that can vanish quickly if they are rooted in corruption, fraud or falsification.” Wells Fargo is a bank whose practices run contrary to the values articulated by the UC and its sustainable investment framework. In their estimation, the UC should not invest the money of young college students, distinguished faculty, and the Board of Regents in Wells Fargo.
Selling $425 million in Wells Fargo holdings would benefit the UC and set a historic precedent for the nation. Their resolution explicitly states that the newly-released funds should be invested in education and companies that are owned or controlled by the formerly incarcerated. Doing so would place the UC at the forefront of a national movement for smart, visionary, and ethical investment decisions that aim to benefit society at large.
If the UC does not sell their $425 million of holdings in Wells Fargo Bank, they will have a statewide coalition of relentless, strategic, and fearless Black students who are intent on contributing their part to the Black Freedom Struggle. Their patience is quickly reaching its limit and they intend to wage this struggle by any means necessary. They do not and they will not act alone, as the prison industrial complex targets Black, brown, poor and migrant lives, and the most marginalized have the least to lose.
For more information, contact the Afrikan Black Coalition at [email protected]!!!