Portland City Council’s Decision to Divest

On April 5, the Portland City Council voted to stop investing in corporations.  Basic information about this decision can be found in the Oregonian.  A well done summary of the decision is available on the website, Portland Occupier.  The Portland Raging Grannies testified in support of disvesting by singing a song that asks, “Which Side are You On.”

A writer for Quartz, a news website owned by Atlantic Media Co., also reported on the decision. While we are pleased with the City Council’s decision, we take issue with the way this decision was reported in Quartz. Credit for leading the city council to make the decision was given to the Portland Raging Grannies in the Quartz headline, but in reality the decision to divest followed a great deal of hard work by a number people and organizations.  One of our members sent the following email to the editor of Quartz:

I feel compelled to write to you on behalf of the Portland Raging Grannies who found your article cringeworthy since it gave credit where it absolutely was not due and failed to credit the people who deserve it.   The damage done to the interrelationships of groups and individuals fighting for social justice is undermined by such lazy and thoughtless and unresearched reporting. Please read below and find a way to make a public correction of your article.

While I am very happy the Portland Raging Grannies were effective in getting out the message, I would like to emphasize that all the hard work of 3 plus years of building this campaign was done by many, many others(not the Portland Raging Grannies) who worked tirelessly, putting in hundreds of hours in research, organizing, meeting, writing, showing up to testify. These people must be given all the credit for what happened in City Hall on Wednesday, April 5. This was the work of a broad coalition of groups coming together for the overall goal of environmental justice and human rights. Who were these heroes? Enlace, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Occupation-Free Portland, the Portland Public Banking Alliance, Jobs with Justice, the Alliance for Democracy, the Oregon Sierra Club, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Portland Prison Divestment Coalition, 350PDX, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, as well as numerous similar justice organizations, faith groups, and indigenous people, and the volunteer Sustainable Investment Committee, who worked for two years researching corporations to find the worst of the worst offenders.