A group of celebrities asked me to visit a website. What I found was alarming, to say the least.
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After seeing this, I was curious, so I went to the website.

Lo and behold, it turns out my 401(k) — my hard-earned retirement savings — could be invested in publicly traded gun companies. And I'm not the only one.


There are over 51 million Americans with retirement portfolios that are probably invested in guns.

On the surface, that doesn't sound so bad, right? People should be able to invest in whatever they want. BUT...

  1. We have a right to know where our money is going.
  2. We should think twice before investing in companies that corrupt our democracy and endanger communities in the process.
  3. It's our money. And in a world where money *is* political power, it behooves us to wield it for the greater good.

As individual investors, we can pull our money out of guns. But asset-management firms need to start doing their part too.

Adam Kanzer, managing director of a social investment firm, writes:

"The largest asset managers in the world are backing a future that fails to address broad social harm. ... We should therefore not be surprised to see our children inherit a passive democracy that is unable or unwilling to protect them.
...
When trillions of dollars of capital unite against gun violence, companies and policymakers will listen. Institutional investors are not prevented by fiduciary duty from taking these actions; rather, fiduciary duty compels them to do so.
...
We don't need to finance violence in our communities in order to provide for our retirements. Now is the time for individuals to speak up and demand an approach to investment that is appropriate for children."



Is your 401(k) invested in guns? Find out now and see what you can do about it.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


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Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

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