Photo credit: Jordan Moser
Action Calls on Liberty Stop Contributing to Climate Crisis and Harming Communities
DALLAS, TX (March 16, 2021) – Activists from all over Texas convened at Liberty Mutual’s regional headquarters in Plano to protest the company’s policies on fossil fuels and Indigenous rights. Citing the fact that Liberty Mutual continues to insure and fund projects that contribute to climate change, while also ignoring repeated requests from impacted Indigenous communities to meet with corporate leadership, the activists dropped banners from the Dallas North Tollway and delivered a letter signed by policyholders demanding immediate action. This protest comes less than a month after climate change caused an Arctic freeze, which resulted in a major crisis and lack of power and water across Texas.
Robin Schneider, Executive Director for Texas Campaign for the Environment, spoke immediately after the meeting, “We just got through another Mickey Mouse policyholder meeting from Liberty Mutual, but we made our positions quite clear. Our letter signed by more than a dozen policyholders demanded they stop insuring and investing in fossil fuels, and also demanded that they meet with Indigenous leaders who have asked and been refused meetings with the corporate executives.”
After being implored by policyholder activists inside the meeting, Liberty Mutual allowed Indigenous leader Yolonda Blue Horse, Director of the Indigenous Cultures Institute at the Memnosyne Foundation and Co-Founder of the Society of Native Nations in Texas, to speak to Liberty Mutual officials, a space typically reserved for policyholders. By all accounts, this is the first time the company has given an Indigenous leader any opportunity to speak face-to-face (in person or virtually) with any Liberty Mutual officials, despite more than a year of demanding to do so.
“We need to start thinking about the planet and what we’re going to be leaving behind, not how much we’re squirreling away,” Blue Horse stated. “This was something that I was not expecting, but I was glad to be given a moment to speak about the missing and murdered Indigenous women – which is what goes on at the man camps around the pipelines – and how much we’re being killed at a horrible rate. There were a couple of women in there, so I was able to point out ‘These are your fellow sisters who are being murdered, these are your fellow sisters who are getting raped and drugged,’ and then asking more generally, ‘How many of you enjoy the great outdoors? If we keep doing this there’s not going to be any more of that.’”
“I let them know that oil should stay in the sand, not their heads,” said community organizer (and Liberty Mutual policyholder) Lisa Fithian. “We have to hold these people accountable to what the institutions are doing. They are complicit. But if we can hold them accountable, and force them to work with and listen to the Indigenous leaders of this land, maybe there’s hope.”
Liberty Mutual is one of the largest and most prominent insurers in the country and has continually stated their commitment to protect people from risk. But activists say their actions – and investments – tell a different story, as they provide millions in insurance and investments in carbon intensive activities like toxic tar sands, Arctic drilling projects and Texas pipelines, putting our future at risk even in the midst of a pandemic and after a horrible crisis in Texas that showed energy companies don’t care about people.