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MIRAC demands Minnesota divest from border militarization corporation Elbit Systems

By Brad Sigal |
August 27, 2020
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Saint Paul, MN - At the State Board of Investments (SBI) meeting on August 26, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) member Mari Mansfield spoke out, demanding that Minnesota divest its funds from the border militarization corporation Elbit Systems.

This was part of an ongoing campaign to press the State Board of Investments on this issue. Activists from MIRAC, the Anti-War Committee and other organizations have spoken at several previous SBI meetings, have presented thousands of petitions, and have protested in front of Governor Walz’s mansion to demand divestment from Elbit System because of their profiteering off of border militarization at the U.S.-Mexico border and also by Israel against the Palestinians.

Mansfield told the SBI members:

“Last year I went on a human rights delegation to the border of Tucson and Mexico with MIRAC. The horrors I witnessed made me truly disgusted to be an American. I heard the stories of people who crossed the border, people fleeing violence leave their homes and families in the middle of the night, telling no one. They travel thousands of miles to make it to our southern border. There they encounter the wall that pushes them into the smoldering oblivion of the desert. When the desert becomes too treacherous for construction of the wall, mountains force you further in, then in the distance you see the Elbit surveillance towers. Their towers can spot people from miles away, so you travel further into the desert, and only travel at night to avoid being seen by the towers. With only the moonlight to guide you, you hike through miles of lethal darkness. Inevitably, someone trips and falls, breaking their leg, unable to continue the journey. There is nothing you can do for them, and if you stay with them you will die too so you walk away from your brother, your sister, your mother or your best friend leaving them to die slowly and painfully all alone in the desert. This is the system of Prevention Through Deterrence that our government assures us is working very well, and you have made the conscious and informed decision to fund this system of death, using my money. You must break ties with Elbit or live the rest of your life knowing you are a merchant of death.”

The State Board of Investments is comprised of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, State Auditor Julie Blaha, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and is chaired by Governor Tim Walz. All are Democrats who have vocally opposed President Trump’s immigration policies. In 2018 while campaigning for governor, Walz tweeted, “President Trump wants to blow $18 billion of taxpayer funds on his border wall? Give me a break.” Ellison appeared at 2018’s May Day Parade in Minneapolis wearing a “Yo no creo en fronteras” (I don’t believe in borders) t-shirt, and has stated that Trump was “unable to persuade Congress and the American people that a wall is necessary.”

Yet when presented with the fact that Minnesota has more than $1 million invested in border militarization profiteers Elbit Systems, they have thus far not taken the simple step of selling off those investments.

Activists will continue to demand that the State Board of Investments divest Minnesota’s funds from border militarization corporation Elbit Systems.

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