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Divest Now

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Duration: 1988 - Unknown
Location: Middletown, Connecticut, United States

Divest Now was a broad-based coalition of students that campaigned to get Wesleyan University to divest from companies doing business in South Africa. Divest Now was responsible for 15 day sit-in that started on April 18, 1988, blockading the Wesleyan University administration building.  On May 2, 1988 police arrested 110 students blocking the administration building. Divest Now was composed of many Southern Africa Action Group (SAAG) members, but it explicitly involved student leaders and members of other groups. As a multicultural and multiracial coalition it helped students to connect apartheid and its system of racism not only to racism in our own U.S. context, but also to racism at our university (e.g., in terms of institutional recruitment and retention of faculty of color as well as personal prejudice).  It also prompted many students in the coalition to understand that the fight against racism and racial injustice could not be separated from the fight against the violation of human rights, homophobia and sexism (both institutionally and personally), etc. Divest Now linked the university's investment policies to its limited willingness to really honor and promote diversity at the campus -- to hire and retain faculty of color, to provide resources to students of color and other marginalized groups. (Source: Amy Randall, a former member of SAAG and Divest Now; and "110 Protesters To Face Charges At Wesleyan U.", The New York Times, May 3, 1988)