Members and allies of 350 Tacoma shut down branches of Chase and Wells Fargo banks on Monday to highlight the banks’ role in financing climate destruction and violations of indigenous treaty rights.
Answering the global call to action from Mazaska Talks, 350 Tacoma’s action was just one of many across over 35 cities in North America. More than 100,000 people viewed a broadcast coordinated by Mazaska Talks incorporating live streams of nationwide actions. Our friends at Native Daily Network were on the ground and livestreaming the Tacoma event.
Here in Tacoma, about a dozen of us entered the lobby and proceeded to put the Chase Bank branch at South 11th and Commerce streets on notice: Stop financing tar sands pipelines! Dakota and Ray spoke powerfully, and Lacey read aloud the letter to Chase CEO Jamie Diamon. The letter read, in part:
We are taking this action as a result of your financing of new tar sands pipelines ― including Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain; Trans-Canada’s Keystone XL; and Enbridge’s Line 3. As with the Dakota Access Pipeline, these pipelines lack Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from all of the impacted indigenous nations, an indigenous right upheld by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Over 150 First Nations that are party to the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion oppose tar sands mining at the source and throughout the pipeline route. We implore your bank to prohibit all financing for all companies with tar sands operations, as well as all finance for tar sands projects, with public reporting on implementation.
Native Daily Network Livestream
Inside the bank…
The group then performed a circle dance around the perimeter of the lobby to the beat of drums, delivered the letter, and left. Chase Bank employees locked the doors as we exited the building.
Conveniently, Wells Fargo was just up the street, but by the time we arrived the front doors were locked fast—Chase Bank had called neighboring banks to warn them. A bank shutting itself down is just as good, so we rallied outside and plastered the many windows with sticky notes, each one bearing the name of someone who signed a petition demanding divestment from fossil fuels. The sticky notes spelled out “Divest The Globe.” Passersby were engaged in conversation and received flyers explaining the purpose of the action. Amplified by a bullhorn, Kyle Jolibois read the letter to the employees inside and also slipped a copy under the door.
…not only shall we be boycotting your bank, but we will also be encouraging individuals, institutions and cities around the world to move towards banks that place the Earth and the people before profits.
Peaceful, nonviolent direct action
Police arrived to the scene but with nothing illegal occurring simply left. We remained in front of Wells Fargo until 1 p.m., having closed business for over half an hour. Boycotting Wells Fargo is particularly relevant to Tacoma, given their funding of Puget Sound Energy’s fracked gas facility in the Port of Tacoma. In fact, some of the sticky notes spelled out “No LNG.”
On the way out of downtown we stopped by Chase Bank again and employees immediately locked the bank’s doors. That disrupted business for another 15 minutes at least as we waited for the free, electric-powered light rail.
We are proud to have taken part in Mazaska Talks’ day of action and thankful to everyone who joined, supported, and made it a success! Great work everyone!
For a better tomorrow,