TIAA/CREF AND SOUTH AFRICA: SAMPLE LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
by TIAA-CREF Divestment Campaign
Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
Undated, perhaps May or June 1986?
The sample letter says Dear Board Members: I write to you as a member of TIAA/CREF to urge you to support the divestment of TIAA/CREF's holdings in companies operating in South Africa. The sample letter says I do not want my pension funds to be invested in companies that are participating in and helping to support the apartheid system in South Africa; American companies, that are concentrated in capital-intensive industry in the most strategic sectors of the South African economy, provide essential economic and political support to the minority government. The sample letter says growing numbers of South Africans who are working for justice in that land are calling on Americans to divest from companies operating there; the COSATU trade union federation, for example, which organized the largest work stoppage in South African history on May 1, has declared its support for divestment; so, too, has Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu. The sample letter says the building crisis in South Africa demands decisive action to put maximum non-violent pressure on the South African government to eliminate apartheid and to negotiate a new political future for the country; TIAA/CREF's policy of supporting stockholder resolution that call on companies to implement the Sullivan fair employment principles is entirely inadequate; stockholder actions have been tried for twenty-five years, and they have failed to bring meaningful change; furthermore, the Sullivan Principles do not address the fundamental issue at stake in South Africa -- equal political rights for all. The sample letter says the best way for TIAA/CREF to send a message to the South African government that we stand against apartheid is to divest. The sample letter discusses COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions), the Internal Security Act, and the public call for international economic pressure.
Used by permission of several co-chairs of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars.
Collection: Association of Concerned Africa Scholars Papers, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections