Amidst national black student protests demanding colleges and universities be accountable for enabling racism on and off campus, the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), a university-wide consortium of black-student groups, issued a statement on November 30 indicting the University of California for its multi-million dollar investments in private for-profit prisons. Less than three weeks later, however, the UC announced it will be divesting.

According to an ABC press release, members of the organization met with UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher on December 18, where Bachher announced the UC will be selling its holdings in private prisons.

“This victory is historic and momentous,” ABC Political Director Yoel Haile noted in the statement. “Divesting $25 million is a good step towards shutting down private prisons by starving them of capital. This is a clear example of Black Power and what we can achieve when we work in unity. This victory belongs to the masses of our people languishing behind America’s mass incarceration regime.”

The original statement, written by UC Berkeley student and ABC Prison Divestment Communications Director, Anthony Williams, called attention to the regents’ $25 million investment split between Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The Geo Group, two major private prison corporations, as well as $425 million invested in Wells Fargo, which ABC calls “one of the largest financiers of private prisons.”

“It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to be investing tens and hundreds millions of dollars in private prisons and their financiers,” Haile wrote.

“In the age of mass incarceration and Black Lives Matter, the UC should be leading the fight for social justice and ethical investing as opposed to bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America.”

According to Reuters, the UC has no intention of relinquishing its investments in Wells Fargo.

For the full original statement, click here.


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