On July 12th, scores of climate justice activists turned out on Hawthorne Street to pressure Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo to stop funding tar sands pipeline projects, especially Line 3. Indigenous activists spoke at a rally prior to the march which also featured music by XR activist, Wendy Emerson.
The banks apparently got wind of the march and closed their branches for the afternoon, although Bank of America had four outside security personnel until the march drew near — when they retreated inside and locked the doors. At each site, marchers stopped to engage in chanting, bannering, street theater, and share educational information about how the banks are contributing to climate chaos.
A couple of customers readied to close their Chase account. One marcher cut up their Chase credit card and submitted it with a letter at the drive up window. One of the XRPDX rebels arrived early to the Bank of America branch and was able to engage with a branch manager in the lobby before the marchers arrived. After the manager shared that the bank had plans for climate mitigation, the activist pointed to the $198 billion Bank of America had spent financing fossil fuels in the past 5 years and asked about proposed changes, to which the manger replied “Well I don’t know the specifics, but I’m sure you can read about it online”. The activist then made clear that this was an inadequate response and continued with tar sands and Line 3 education, urging them to push up the chain of command for “stopping the money pipeline”.
At a dramatic moment during the march, drummers laid the stage for the “beheading” of the symbolic pipeline in the form of a black snake representing the tar sands projects. The marchers urged passersby and bank customers to withdraw funds from the major banks continuing to fund fossil fuels and reinvest in community banks or credit unions.
Defund Line 3!