On Tuesday morning at the MA State House, over 200 people rallied in support of making Massachusetts the first state to divest from fossil fuels. Senate Bill S. 1225 would divest $1.3 billion in fossil fuels from the Massachusetts pension fund. The rally included music, a wide range of speakers, and people from all over the Bay State calling for divestment.

#S1225 rally 9:13:10 meme draft 8

After the rally, we packed the hearing room in the State House and dozens of people from various communities gave powerful testimony. Students for a Just and Stable Future, faith leaders, Mothers Out Front, unions, green groups, investment managers, and legislators, including Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield who filed the bill, all testified in favor of divestment to the Joint Committee on Public Service.

Only one person testified against the bill–a representative from the Mass Petroleum Council (part of the American Petroleum Institute). The spokesman said: “They are trying to besmirch our reputation.” To which @350Mass replied on Twitter: “Exactly!”

The goals of this campaign are similar to other divestment campaigns: go after oil companies’ financial and social capital and get people mobilized. This state divestment campaign has the special opportunity to unify diverse divestment groups and inspire new people to get involved. Massachusetts has been the first on many issues and struggles. And the nation has often followed at a surprisingly fast rate. And the fossil fuel divestment movement has also grown at a surprisingly fast rate.

Through organizing legislative visits and letter writing parties we have a list of supporters growing literally every day. The state divestment rally and S. 1225 hearing were a huge success. We are getting more optimistic about passing S. 1225 this legislative session (before June 2014). At the same time, we know that even if the bill does not pass this session we are taking action and growing the movement for climate justice, which provides hope for all of us.


To get involved contact:

Eli Gerzon (small business owner from Boston area and author of this post) – eli@eligerzon.com or 339-223-3185

Darcy Dumont (retired teacher from Western, MA collecting pension from the state pension fund S. 1225 would divest) – darcydumont140@yahoo.com or 413-253-9644

Check out 350MA’s state divestment page: www.350ma.org/divest/state

Follow on Twitter: @350Mass and hashtag #S1225