Powerful Latino Groups Pressure Gates Foundation Over GEO Stake

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The Gates Foundation, known for its high-minded philanthropy, is under fire for a much less savory activity: investing in private prisons. This Thursday, Presente.org, alongside Enlace International and 25 partner organizations, will protest in front of the Gates Foundation Headquarters in Seattle. They will deliver more than 10,000 petitions calling on the foundation to drop their investments in The GEO Group, Inc. (NYSE:GEO), the nation’s second largest private prison operator.

See the petition signed by 10,899 people here: http://act.presente.org/sign/gatesdivestment


What: Press conference and delivery of more than 10,000 petitions to demand The Gates Foundation divest from private prisons.


Who: Concerned Seattle residents, Presente.org, Enlace International, and more.


When: 1pm Thursday, April 10, 2014.


Where: The Gates Foundation HQ at 500 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA.


Visuals: Boxes of petitions, community leaders giving remarks, signs calling for the foundation to divest from private prisons.


Thursday’s event comes after The Gates Foundation failed to respond to private requests that they drop investments in GEO Group– which has been accused of human rights violations and lobbies for mass-incarceration. The investment contradicts the Foundation’s mission to “ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.'”


“The Gates Foundation must immediately drop their morally wrong investments in private prisons,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “GEO Group is a company that makes its money by putting people in cages — and they drive their profits by lobbying to get more people put away behind bars for minor crimes. It’s contradictory of the Gates Foundation to advocate for better ‘education’ for Latinos when its investments are devastating our communities — and Presente and our partners demand the Gates Foundation divest from private prisons now. Unless they divest, the Gates foundation will drag the legacy of Bill Gates into the mud of wasteful, overcrowded  and abusive immigrant prisons. The name ‘Gates’ will be synonymous with ‘anti-Latino’ in communities across the United States.”

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