UC Regents Divest $3 Million from ETP and Banks Funding DAPL
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To the Regents of the University of California:
This past September, I was called by local California Indigenous people to come to Standing Rock in North Dakota because the police were becoming increasingly violent towards a group of Native American people peacefully standing up against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Since that first visit, I have been involved in advocating for the health of the people at Standing Rock and am part of a group, including our own Native American Health Alliance here at UCSF, that is creating the first free integrative community clinic for the development and practice of decolonized medicine in the US—The Mni Wiconi Health Clinic on Lakota Dakota Territory. We are dedicated to protecting the water and to protecting the people who are expressing the courage to stand up for their access to clean and healthy water, because we know as health workers that the first step to a healthy life is access to healthy clean water, free of petroleum products.
The pipeline construction, which was halted by Obama right before it crossed Lake Oahe, the clean water source for 17 million people downstream, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, was given the green light by Trump yesterday. We are calling on all institutions who may unknowingly be funding this pipeline—which has become emblematic of ongoing racist colonial violence towards the original people of this land—we are asking all institutions to stop funding this pipeline.
The UC Retirement Fund currently has an estimated 3 million dollars invested in Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and banks that fund it. I ask you to divest these funds immediately and to consider broad scale divestment from all extractive industries and the banks that support it. Take that money and invest it in Californian industries that are directly working towards a healthy planet and a healthy future.
Taking action to secure the rights to health and dignity of people of color is an inherently political stance. We should not shy away from correct action because it is deemed “political.” The very act of caring for all people equally as a physician is political, because it assumes and reinforces the inherent rights of all people—an act which often contradicts the unwritten laws and policies of this country, which are now being highlighted by the highest level of government.
We urge you to take a stand on our behalf as workers in this great public university system, which has been a formative part of my own education as an undergraduate, a medical resident and for the past 10 years as faculty. I am fiercely proud to serve this university and to be a part of this vibrant diverse community in the Bay Area.
Please immediately divest all $3 million of our retirement fund from Energy Transfer Partners and the banks that are funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and help us protect the dignity and health of all people everywhere.
Rupa Marya, MD
Do No Harm Coalition, Faculty Director
Division of Hospital Medicine
Department of Medicine
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