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News Briefs: Fossil fuel divestment forum; Women’s Fund of Western Mass. celebration

Fossil fuel divestment is the withdrawal of investments in oil, coal, and gas companies that are endangering climate in order to stigmatize the corporations for using their profits to influence legislators to pass laws that block transitions to clean, renewable energy sources.

350Mass-Berkshires to hold fossil fuel divestment forum

Pittsfield — 350Mass-Berkshires will hold a panel presentation and discussion on fossil fuel divestment for individuals and organizations on Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Ralph Froio Senior Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Fossil fuel divestment is the withdrawal of investments in oil, coal, and gas companies that are endangering climate in order to stigmatize the corporations for using their profits to influence legislators to pass laws that block transitions to clean, renewable energy sources. The 350Mass Divestment campaign has been focused on supporting state Senator Ben Downing‘s bill to divest the Massachusetts State Pension Fund of fossil fuel holdings. It has also helped 14 municipalities and numerous religious institutions pass resolutions calling for divestment. With this forum, attention is turned to helping businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals to divest. Presenting at the forum will be Karin Chamberlain of Clean Yield Asset Management in Norwich, Vt.; Lisa Hayles of Boston Common Asset ManagementSustainable Wealth Advisors Owner/Founder Harry Moran in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and Libby O’Connell of Green Century Funds in Boston. Topics covered will include how to divest your investments of fossil fuel holdings or get your employer to offer a fossil-free option in your 401k, how to reinvest in sustainable community options, and the economics and objectives of the fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Light refreshments will be served. RSVPs to info@350ma-berkshires.org are appreciated but not required. For more information, contact Gary Stoller at (413) 717-8350.

–E.E.

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Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts’s Women’s Celebration

Holyoke — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) will host Women Lead Change: a Celebration of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI) Class of 2016 at the Log Cabin on Monday, May 23, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The event will include remarks from Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and a keynote address from Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Deputy Director of Public Engagement at the White House. Three Berkshire County residents will also be graduating from the program: Kenzie Wood and Nataly Garzon of Pittsfield, and Lindsey Berkowitz of Great Barrington. WFWM will acknowledge the Lt. Governor as well as Ms. Rodriguez with a “She Changes the World” award, presented to honor exceptional contribution to social change and creating economic and social equity for women and girls.

Karyn Polito is the 72nd Lt. Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. From 2001 to 2011 she was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing the 11th Worcester District. She also served at a member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen and as a member of the state lottery commission.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Deputy Director of Public Engagement where she manages a team of associate directors who work with leaders in the LGBT, AAPI, Latino, veterans, youth, education, labor, and progressive communities. Over the past four years, Rodriguez has worked in the Office of Public Engagement, supporting efforts to reform the nation’s immigration system, improve services for veterans, and increase access to affordable, quality health care, among other issues. Rodriguez has also worked in coordination with the White House’s National Security Council on efforts to normalize the United States’ relationship with Cuba. Prior to joining the White House, Rodriguez served as the Director of Youth Employment at the Department of the Interior and the Deputy Press Secretary to former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

–E.E.

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