Students rally alongside organizers from Corrientes, Argentina, in Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA—On Friday, April 11, members of the Harvard community rallied in Harvard Yard alongside two organizers from the communities most affected by Harvard’s timber plantations in Argentina. The rally was part of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition’s eleven-day SHAME Tour and week of action.
The rally featured speeches from the two Argentine community organizers, Emilio Spataro and Adrian Obregon, Cambridge City Council Member Leland Cheung, and UNITE HERE Local 26 leader Ed Childs.
In addition, Harvard Undergraduate Council President Gus Mayopolous, Harvard Graduate School Council President Summer Shafer, and Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition member Gabriel Bayard spoke.
Obregon, Sparato, and members of RI@H met with three Harvard administrators, asking that they sign an agreement to “engage in substantive conversations with community stakeholders to ensure the continued responsible management practices of EVASA and Las Misiones.” Harvard refused to sign. Organizers have vowed to continue fighting until the Harvard administration acknowledges its responsibility to Corrientes.
During the rally, organizers delivered a petition with 1,115 signatures to the Office of Harvard University President Faust in Massachusetts Hall on behalf of those affected by Harvard-owned timber plantations in Argentina.
The petition asked Harvard to respond to community members’ three demands: 1) stop expanding plantations within their communities; 2) remove plantations within 2,000 meters of their homes; and 3) comply with all legally required employment standards.