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"Investing" in Climate Justice Solutions

November 02, 2016 @ 5:30 PM

BASIC thanks Zevin Asset Management for hosting this event at their offices (11 Beacon St #1125, Boston, MA).

Join us on November 2nd to learn about and discuss Climate Justice Solutions, an innovative approach to transforming our society from an extractive economy to a regenerative, local, living economy. Those most impacted by the ravages of climate change – small farmers and Indigenous Peoples around the world - are also advancing powerful and creative solutions on the ground. Grassroots International has a 32-year history of working with these frontline global communities. Grassroots has developed and supports a different kind of investment in those communities and their local solutions that advance a sustainable food system and develop resilient communities.

Grassroots International's Executive Director Chung-Wha Hong, and Director of Grantmaking and Advocacy Sara Mersha will draw upon their organization's work with global communities to explain how these investments in climate justice solutions work and their impact on economic transformation. Special guest Robert Zevin, Founder of Zevin Asset Management, LLC, will join them and speak to why he has given his personal and financial support to this effort. 

Our Speakers:

Chung Wha HongChung-Wha Hong is Executive Director of Grassroots International. She previously served as the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition for seven years, where she grew the membership into one of the largest and most diverse statewide immigrant rights groups in the nation.

At NYIC, Chung-Wha worked with a global diaspora of immigrants – many of whom fled poverty and violence in their homelands in hopes of finding safety and opportunity here in the US. She fought to create those opportunities by empowering the communities themselves to win policy victories for civil rights, worker rights and access to education and services.

Named by New York Magazine as one of the most Influential People in Politics, Chung-Wha played a critical role in national coalitions that promoted humane and just immigration reform and won President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which provided young immigrants relief from deportation and work permits.

Sara MershaSara Mersha has been the Director of Grantmaking and Advocacy at Grassroots International since 2010. She works to build and maintain long-term relationships with grassroots partner organizations and social movements led by peasants, indigenous peoples, women and youth in the Global South. She also coordinates Grassroots’ advocacy work, collaborating with other US allies as part of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and the Climate Justice Alliance. She is also on the Planning Committee of the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sara has spent the majority of her life in the US and brings years of experience connecting local community organizing with broader movement building efforts. Sara served as Visiting Faculty in the Ethnic Studies Department of Brown University, and entered a graduate program at Brown’s Center for Environmental Studies in 2009. Since then, she has focused her academic and movement-building work on climate justice and food sovereignty.

Robert ZevinMr. Zevin has been a leader in socially responsible investing since 1967. He started what is now Walden Asset Management in 1975, making it the first explicit socially responsible unit in any bank. He was also a principal architect of the first Calvert Social Investment Fund in 1982.

Mr. Zevin was a leader in the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. His 1987 expert testimony in defense of the Baltimore pension funds’ right to divest led to a precedent-setting decision. He has founded, co-founded, and led numerous social change organizations such as Resist (against the war in Vietnam), United States Servicemen’s Fund (anti-war GI coffee houses), Haymarket Foundation (change not charity), Affirmative Investments (direct community investments), and Shared Interest (support for informal economy in South Africa since 1996) as well as the School for Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University.

Mr. Zevin has taught at Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, Boston University, UMass Amherst, and Simmons College. He has published two books and numerous articles about economic history and social policy. He earned a B.A. in mathematics from Antioch College (1959), an M.S. in mathematics from Ohio State University (1960), an M.S. in economics from Harvard (1962) and subsequently a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.