Santa Monica Youth Call Out CalSTRS’ Harry Keiley


On August 14th at 10 AM on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, youth from all over Los Angeles will be demonstrating against the California Teachers’ Retirement Association (CalSTRS) investing billions of dollars into fossil fuels.

CalSTRS is the 2nd largest pension fund in the U.S., managing over 300 billion dollars and serving one million teachers. This protest will target the chairman of CalSTRS, Harry Keiley, who has been actively refusing demands for CalSTRS’ divestment from students and teachers alike while holding the power to sway the rest of the board to divest all of the funds. After a summer defined by natural disasters the severity of which was augmented by climate change, the urgency to act has never been more pronounced. 

The demonstration will involve young activists with masks of CalSTRS board members pouring blackstrap molasses over themselves while wearing gas masks to symbolize the way the pensions funds’ investments into fossil fuels are drowning and suffocating future generations. This shot will be followed by an “oil” covered walking demonstration with colorful signage throughout the promenade. 

Covering this event both continues the critical climate change conversation but also highlights an effective approach to addressing the climate crisis: divestment. While divestment from fossil fuels is a timely and powerful way governments and institutions around the world are working to mitigate the impacts of fossil fuel companies on climate change, it is rarely given due media attention. CalSTRS’ investment decisions are closely monitored by firms all over the world and thus a decision to divest would cause major shock waves throughout the environmental and financial world. Besides the ethical dilemma of remaining invested in fossil fuels, California teachers have already suffered losses to their pensions as a result of these investments.

We urge you to be present at this very powerful demonstration.


Press Contacts

Anastasia Shakhidzhanova 
Fossil Free California/Environmental Activist
(310) 513-3323

Daniel Thurmond
Team Marine/Environmental Activist
(310) 648 1074