Representatives of anti-apartheid groups urged about 200 Cambridge residents Saturday to call on Cambridge not to invest in financial institutions that do business in South Africa.
The city will hold a non-binding referendum on the question November 6.
The Cambridge Coalition Against Apartheid hosted speakers from Cambridge, the United Nations, and Africa at the St. Paul's A.M.E. Church in Central Square.
Shuping Coapage, a delegate of the African National Congress, told the voters that grassroots work across the world is needed to defeat apartheid.
"You must ensure that the money of the people of Cambridge is not invested in the blood-money of the banks in South Africa," Ampin Blankson, deputy permanent representative of Nigeria at the U.N. said at the meeting.
Blankson, a member of the U.N. committee against Apartheid, affirmed the committee's support for the referendum.
City Councilor Saundra Graham told the voters that the same racism oppressing blacks in South Africa through apartheid oppresses blacks in Cambridge and Boston.
The War At Home
"You may think South Africa is far away, but the racism is also right here," Graham said, adding Cambridge residents "better begin to attack racism at home, because that is where the money is coming from to fund apartheid."
Mary Nolan, associate professor of Social Studies, said approval of the referendum would be a message to banks to halt their practices in South Africa and their policy of redlining in Cambridge.
I Don't Want Your Blood Money
"If we are committed to fighting racism in America, we must be committed to fighting apartheid," Nolan said.