On May 18th, the Illinois State Assembly passed a bill to prevent the State Treasurer from investing in companies doing business in Sudan. This requires the selling off of about $1 billion worth of investments in companies doing business with Sudan, part of a nationwide campaign to protest genocide in the African nation This historic piece of legislation now awaits the approval of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich before it can be signed into law. Passage of the bill would make Illinois the first state to divest from companies dealing with Sudan. (See Sam Graham-Felsen’s piece about how Harvard was pressured to become the first college to divest from Sudan earlier this year.)

As the iabolish website, a leader in the divestment efforts, says “Divestment is a measure of last-resort and shouldn’t be used frivolously. But the US Congress and the State Department have unequivocally stated that the Sudanese government is committing genocide. This is an incredibly serious accusation and an unparalleled moral crime. Thousands are dying every week in bombing attacks, militia raids, and through forced starvation. Thousands every week. American companies are already barred from doing business in Sudan. The divestment campaign simply asks institutions to pass a resolution saying they will not investment in foreign companies who are ready to put profit over principle, even when it comes to genocide.”

So Sudanese solidarity groups are asking all Americans, especially Illinois residents, to click here to call, fax, write, or email the Illinois governor to show their support for Senate Bill 23. You can also find out how your own state funds are invested. (And click here to read the full text of the bill.)