To the Cambridge City Council: Please end city contracts with Hewlett Packard companies

Faith leaders: Please join Massachusetts Multifaith Network for Justice in Palestine and Friends of Sabeel North America’s Clergy and Seminary Action Council by adding your name in support of this important campaign led by Mass Against HP.

As faith leaders of many different faith traditions and denominations, we urge the city of Cambridge to discontinue contracts with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Hewlett Packard Incorporated (HP Inc).  

HPE provides technology to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allowing the agency to streamline the tracking, detention, and deportation of immigrants. HPE has also held numerous contracts to provide the technology that U.S. state and federal prison systems use to organize data on inmates and former inmates, enabling the incarceration of millions of working class people of color and the disenfranchisement of formerly incarcerated people from many sectors of American civil society.

In Israel and occupied Palestine, HPE is the exclusive provider of computer servers that Israeli authorities use to run their population registry, storing and organizing the biometric data of all Palestinians. This system is the IT architecture of Israel’s 69-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, denying Palestinians equal rights, equal access to resources, and freedom of movement. HPE also contracts with Israel’s prison system, in which Palestinians are frequently incarcerated after trials in military courts that have a 99.7% conviction rate. HP Inc. is the exclusive provider of personal computers to the Israeli military, which oversees Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, causing starvation and extreme poverty.

We stand alongside religious denominations that have divested from Hewlett Packard companies based on their longstanding complicity in human rights violations. Among the denominations taking this action are the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), Alliance of Baptists, Quaker Friends Fiduciary, Mennonite Church USA, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Additionally, individual parishes and church entities are now engaged in a boycott of Hewlett Packard companies at local congregational levels, with 26 congregations already signed on. The decision to boycott and divest from Hewlett Packard companies was made due to the companies’ complicity in multiple forms of violence and oppression and was reaffirmed by their lack of accountability and transparency, and their failure to meet to discuss changes they can make to address these issues.

The city of Cambridge has a long history of leadership on human and civil rights, from declaring itself a sanctuary for immigrants more than 30 years ago, to cutting  business ties with Polaroid and other companies complicit in apartheid South Africa, to hanging a Black Lives Matter banner over the entrance of Cambridge city hall last year. The Cambridge City Council now faces an opportunity to place its investment and contractual practices in line with the city’s established principles and goals.

As faith leaders in Cambridge, across Massachusetts, and throughout the United States, we dedicate our efforts in pursuing human and civil rights for all people, equal treatment of all religious faiths, and protection against bias of any kind. In the context of Palestinian rights, the rights of immigrants in the United States, and the rights for people who are or have been incarcerated in the United States, we endorse economic leverage as a time-tested, grassroots, nonviolent tool for social change.  

We urge you to place your moral and political authority in support of these values. With respect we call on you to honor the people of Cambridge through your principled decision to divest from Hewlett Packard business relationships. Endorse the plan now placed before you by community members who seek a just framework in the use of Cambridge public funds. End any business ties with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. In this way, discontinue your involvement in human and civil rights abuses and end your support for governmental policies and practices that treat people differently on the basis of race and identity—in Palestine and the United States alike.



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