CAMBRIDGE, MA - During the lunch rush at Harvard Square today, community groups, activists and students called on Citi and Bank of America to end the risky investment practices that are jeopardizing the homes and savings of American families, and threatening the global climate.
After a public rally outside Bank of America’s offices in Harvard Square, demonstrators marched to a nearby Citi branch where four people locked themselves to the entrance of the Citi branch. The four activists wore t-shirts reading “Not With Our Money,” stressing the connections between the banks’ role in creating the current economic crisis and funding the impending climate crisis through dirty coal investments.
“It is time to stop the decades of reckless financial behavior that is now compromising our homes and our planet,” said Ananda Lee Tan of Rainforest Action Network, one of the rally’s coordinators. “Citi and Bank of America’s destructive investments are threatening our homes, our savings and our climate. These banks must take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of their financing.”
From subprime mortgages to dirty coal plants, both Citi and Bank of America have helped fuel both the credit and climate crises with high-risk investments. The two banks are the country’s leading financiers of coal power plants and, after the recent wave of Wall Street consolidation, now dominate the banking sector.
"Bank of America’s irresponsible lending practices have resulted in a wave of evictions in Boston that are devastating our neighborhoods, especially communities of color,” said Soledad Lawrence, an organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana, one of the organizations participating in the rally. "It’s Katrina without the water."
Coal is responsible for nearly 40% of America’s global warming emissions. Citi is the largest financier of coal in the U.S. providing financial support to 45 companies that have proposed new coal power plants. Bank of America is involved with eight of the top mountaintop removal coal-mining operators in the United States, which collectively produce more than 250 million tons of coal each year. Mountaintop removal flattens mountain ranges and transforms healthy mountain woodlands into toxic sludge that clogs more than 700 miles of rivers and streams, and seriously threatens the health of Appalachian communities.
“Citi and Bank of America are the ATMs of the coal industry," said Deirdre Lally of Rising Tide Boston, one of the demonstrators who chained herself to the doors of the Harvard Square Citi branch. "We're here today to tell these banks: you have broken our trust, and we will not stop until you stop funding dirty energy and start investing in community solutions."
Protestors are pressuring Bank of America and Citi demanding that the country’s leading banks stop compromising the earth’s natural capital in the same way that they have mortgaged the futures of millions of Americans whose homes are in jeopardy due to the failing credit system.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org