Throughout the summer and across the country, people have been gathering at GROW Divestment meet-ups. GROW(Gather. Rise. Organize. Win) aims to bring together individuals with diverse organizing backgrounds- campus and community groups and others- to share stories, learn from each other, and build a movement based on solidarity and an understanding of the collective nature of our struggle.
Students are joining with individuals from a variety of organizing backgrounds, learning, sharing, and building a movement that is based on an understanding of the collective nature of our struggle.
People are gathering at GROW Divestment meet-ups across the country, literally from coast to coast. Students are joining with individuals from with a broad range of organizing and movement backgrounds, learning, sharing and building a movement that is based on relationships and an understanding of the collective nature of our struggle.
At a meet-up in Minnesota, student Treana Mayer reports an “incredibly multi-generational crowd” gathered and provided an opportunity for those present “to be reminded of the bigger picture and all of the other communities we’re ultimately fighting for, and to know that we’re definitely not alone.”
In Maine, students discussed “the campus bubble” and recognized that focusing solely on campus divestment is not enough; “We must leave our campuses and join our community members working on halting extreme energy infrastructure if we are to enjoy a just future for all,” says student Shaun Carland.
In Richmond, 2500 people marched to the gates of a toxic Chevron refinery and 200 people were arrested for blockading the entrance. Following that massive protest, student and community divesters gathered to talk about divestment’s place in the larger movement for climate justice. Participants worked through the importance of building coalitions, and organizing in solidarity with communities who are directly affected by the fossil fuel industry.
Students also held G.R.O.W. meet-ups in Ohio, Utah, Oregon, Michigan, New York and North Carolina. A number of students at these gatherings took part in actions that directly challenged environmental and climate injustice.
We are strongest when we support one another in resisting environmental injustice and the destruction of our planet on all fronts. As G.R.O.W. organizer Sachie Hopkins Hayakawa stated, “We are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for, but there is still plenty of work to be done on campus and off.” Organizers hope G.R.O.W. Divestment provides a space for all of us to recognize this collective power and implement the practice of solidarity organizing in our own campaigns.
G.R.O.W. Divestment is coming to Massachusetts, Illinois and Saint Louis in the next month. If you are in the region, join us. And if you haven’t been able to take part, never fear, these conversations will not end with the summer. When our movement bursts back onto our campuses this fall, it can also grow into the communities that surround and support us. Let’s build a better, stronger movement; let’s build a movement that can win.