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M.E.Ch.A. de Evergreen Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
TESC Divest! Press Contact: email@example.com
Pacific Northwest MEChA Regional Conference Endorses Palestinian BDS Call
Olympia, WA - April 23, 2012 - At the 2012 Pacific Northwest Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán
(MEChA) Regional Conference, chapter leaders voted to endorse the
Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions aimed at forcing
Israel to meet its obligations under international law. The Pacific
Northwest MEChA Conference’s endorsement follows an endorsement made at
the 2012 National MEChA Conference held in Phoenix, Arizona. This
announcement came on a day that commemorated Cesar Chavez Day and
Palestinian Land Day, linking the two liberation struggles against
discrimination and oppression.
Regional Conference was hosted by the Evergreen State College MEChA
chapter. Evergreen State College has recently been an epicenter of
Palestine solidarity. In 2010, students voted overwhelmingly for
divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, such
as Caterpillar, Inc. Caterpillar has been the focus of calls for boycott
at Evergreen since the death of Evergreen student Rachel Corrie in
Gaza. Corrie was crushed under a Caterpillar D9 weaponized bulldozer
operated by the Israeli military as she attempted to non-violently
prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. More recently TESC Divest!
launched the We Divest! campaign to pressure investment giant TIAA-CREF
to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation,
including Caterpillar and Elbit Systems.
de Evergreen stated that “As a chapter, we endorse and support the
global call for BDS... We recognize that our peoples’ historical and
present struggles - against deportation, occupation, exploitation, and
dehumanization - in Arizona, in the border, and in the United States -
not only coincide, but are also connected to Palestinians’ struggle
against Israeli military occupation and settlement of Palestine. Elbit,
the company that provides surveillance equipment on Israel’s illegal
apartheid wall in the West Bank, was also contracted by the U.S.
government to perform the same services for the 700-mile militarized
Mexico-U.S. border. This is why we believe it is important to build
cross-movements between all indigenous peoples’ historical and
continuing struggles against colonization, dehumanization, and cultural
Divest! member Austin Nolen also drew a parallel between the
Palestinian struggle and indigenous struggles in the Americas, noting
that “Companies that TIAA-CREF invests in, like Elbit Systems, profit
from the annexation of indigenous lands not only in Palestine, but here
as well. TIAA-CREF, which handles the retirement funds of Evergreen
faculty, should not force educators to build their futures upon these
de Evergreen members expressed hope that their chapter and Palestine
solidarity groups could work closely on future campaigns. MEChA chapter
members were present at the national conference’s BDS endorsement, which
led them to engage in actions at a local level as well. MEChA de
Evergreen invited TESC Divest! members to take part in a teach-in
connecting the BDS movement to the struggle against the ethnic studies
ban in Tucson, AZ and to the labor struggles of Darigold workers at Ruby
Ridge farm in Eastern Washington. MEChA de Evergreen took the
initiative as a chapter to support BDS as a region and urge their fellow
MEChistas across the nation to do the same.
MEChA de Evergreen (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán) is a student organization that strives to expand the definition of Chicanismo to encompass the struggle of not only Mexican- Americans but of those who relate to la causa regardless of nationality. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Divest! is a student-led organization in Olympia, Washington working to
end Evergreen State College’s complicity in Israel’s abuses of
Palestinian human rights through the non-violent tactic of divestment.
For more information about TESC Divest!, visit www.tescdivest.blogspot.com or email email@example.com.