Here’s a reportback from Lizzy:
“A group of about 25-30 of us from Colorado College (members of EnAct, the Environmental Action Group, and the Outdoor Recreation Club, among others) walked a few blocks down the street to the Chase branch on Tejon Street, in downtown Colorado Springs. Almost everyone was holding a sign, and two people were in the front with a larger banner. Most of us don’t do much direct action, so everyone was pretty excited to participate. This branch is at an intersection on the corner, so we spread out on two sides of it and were very visible from two different streets, and their ATM drive-through. We stayed for about two hours, handing out flyers and talking to customers and random passerbys. We talked to a lot of different people about mountaintop removal, and we had two large photographs of the process to help us out in educating people.
When the Branch Manager returned from lunch, a few of us went inside to go talk to her and deliver the approximately 25 letters we had. Chase employees met us at the door and sort of ushered us into/kept us in the lobby part of the bank where the ATM was, rather than the main part–and the Branch Manager ushered us out the door from there. She was quite curt with us, and seemed pretty unhappy. We had trouble getting a word in, as she was lecturing us on private property and talking to customers…”We’ll see what the police have to say about this,” is what she said. We eventually were able to ask her if she knew what mountaintop removal was, and she said she knew a little bit about it–and then she took the letters, tapped me on the shoulder and said “ok sweetie” and went back inside while I was mid-sentence. We also talked with two other employees outside of the bank, who seemed frustrated by our accusations in light of Chase’s charitable contributions. We explained that our distress stemmed from just that–we didn’t understand why, if Chase had such a charitable mission statement/interest in social justice as they were explaining, that they would not align their financing with it and end their financing of mountaintop removal in the Appalachians. Another Chase employee stopped to talk to several of the students and asked us where the Appalachian mountains were located. She took a picture with her camera phone, telling the students to “look sad.” Several Chase customers approached us to ask for their own letters to deliver, and they delivered them successfully. We heard a lot of “What is Chase doing now?”s…it was evident that people are still pretty unhappy with big banks. Eventually, a police officer came to the scene but told us that we had a right to be there, and that he believed us that we were not harassing customers. My favorite part of the day was when an old man sitting on the street corner exclaimed “ya’ll need a protest song!” and launched into Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin.” It was icing on the cake.