CITY OF ITHACA JOINS NATIONAL DIVESTMENT MOVEMENT, BECOMES FIRST EAST COAST CITY TO DIVEST

For Immediate Release

April 22, 2013

CITY OF ITHACA JOINS NATIONAL DIVESTMENT MOVEMENT, BECOMES FIRST EAST COAST CITY TO DIVEST 

Mayor Myrick joins forces with a coalition of high school and college students on Earth Day

Ithaca, NY -Earth Day – Mayor Svante L. Myrick of the City of Ithaca, NY has agreed to make Ithaca the second city in world to divest its financial holdings in fossil fuels. The action follows the requests issued by the Youth Power Summit 2013, a coalition of Tompkins County high school and college students–ages 16 to 23–for the City to take action for climate justice.

 Fossil fuel divestment campaigns are taking place at over 250 college campuses in the U.S. and the City of Seattle has already agreed to divest. The City of Ithaca’s campaign is the first in the country led by high school and college students, and Ithaca is the first city on the east coast to make the commitment.

On Friday, April 19, 2013, Mayor Myrick met with students to discuss divestment, and agreed to issue a statement from the City on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

Today, Mayor Myrick remarked, “The City of Ithaca does not invest in fossil fuels and I can certainly commit, as long as I am Mayor, to not investing City funds in fossil fuels.”  Mayor Myrick has also agreed to write a letter urging the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, who manages the New York State employee pensions, including the City of Ithaca’s, to divest the NYS Pension Fund from fossil fuels and re-invest in socially responsible alternatives.

 Gabriel Shapiro, a Junior at Lehman Alternative High School, responded to the City’s statement. “We’re proud that our Mayor is not only willing to listen to young people’s demands, but to actively support our work. Our generation will disproportionately experience the impacts of climate change–as systematically marginalized communities already are–and we’re excited that Mayor Myrick is willing to give us a seat at the table around decisions that affect us.”

 “I believe that young people have the creativity, energy, and moral authority that is needed in many of our public debates.  A perfect example is the work this group has done.  The commitment these young people have shown to safeguarding our environment should serve as an inspiration to us all” said Mayor Svante Myrick.

Over 100 students from Tompkins County high schools and colleges joined the Youth Power Summit 2013 at Ithaca College on April 20-21, 2013 to develop local strategies for youth climate justice leadership. Summit Organizer Jane Whiting, Senior at New Roots Charter School, explained, “We took two days to deeply explore the social roots and social impacts of climate change, and to collaborate with our community to re-center our environmental work around social justice. Divestment is one step toward creating a future that puts equity and justice at the center of our solutions to the climate crisis.” 

For additional information contact:

Julie Conley Holcomb, City Clerk julieh@cityofithaca.org / (607) 274-6570 or Anna Kucher, Ithaca High School  anna.kucher8@gmail.com /(607) 342-3564

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