The latest in the trend is Worcester, Massachusetts:
The City Council last night unanimously requested the Worcester Retirement System to divest itself of all investments in Sudan, citing the genocide in that country’s Darfur region as the reason behind its call.
The order, which was co-sponsored by all 11 city councilors and spearheaded by Councilor-at-Large Michael C. Perotto, was hailed by members as the “right thing to do” and a clear message that the city does not want to do business with a country that tolerates crimes against humanity...
City Auditor James A. DelSignore, chairman of the Worcester Retirement Board, told the council that divesting the pension fund’s investments in Sudan will have a minimal impact on the fund’s overall performance. He said it holds stocks in three companies doing business in Sudan.
Mr. DelSignore said there should be a “seamless transition” in selling off those investments and transferring those funds into a “Sudan Free Fund.”
Human rights activists say the Sudanese government has systematically killed at least 400,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million in Sudan’s Darfur region. The U.S. government has declared the ongoing atrocities to be genocide.
Nine cities and 19 states are already divesting themselves from Sudan. Among those cities already doing that are Newton, Providence, New Haven, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
In Massachusetts, state Sens. Edward M. Augustus Jr. and Harriette L. Chandler, both Worcester Democrats, have sponsored a bill, approved by state lawmakers, requiring the state to divest public money from several dozen large companies doing business with the Sudanese government. Gov. Deval L. Patrick is expected to sign the bill into law by the end of the fall.