This morning, nine activists interrupted business as usual at four Bank of America branches across the city of Charlotte, NC. The activists, most of whom were Charlotte locals, were there to protest the bank’s massive financing of the U.S. coal industry.
The day ended with nine arrests, a swarm of media attention and hundreds of people showing their support with phone calls directly to key decision makers at Bank of America.
Today’s inspiring and complex action was deployed seamlessly by a passionate and peaceful crew of activists determined to send BofA a loud and clear message that the bank bears responsibility for the disastrous impacts of its coal funding. Coal is the largest source of climate change pollution in the U.S., and a major cause of air pollution and asthma.
Local grandmothers Patricia Moore and Beth Henry were among those arrested today after locking themselves to 55-gallon barrels in front of an Uptown Charlotte BofA branch. Pat spoke to the gathering crowd with dignity and deep emotion about her concern for her granddaughter who suffers from chronic asthma after growing up in close proximity to five coal-fired power plants that surround the city of Charlotte.
As fire engines roared into place and police and television helicopters gathered overhead, protest particpants—residents of Charlotte, Asheville, West Virginia and beyond—sat firm, blockading the doors of BofA’s bank branches to calmly but firmly make their case to the media and bank employees.
Some of today’s arrestees live in communities directly impacted by the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Others pointed to the massive damage recently caused by super storm Sandy as urgent evidence that climate change is already directly affecting our lives and time is running out to take action for future generations.
Today’s action showed that standing up to protect our families, our homes, our climate requires bold acts. What we saw today was a group of people from wide ranging backgrounds come together to use the power of creative innovation and dignified resistance–what we saw, was a group of nine people able to get the attention of one of the world’s largest banks.
Thank you to all of those who put their bodies on the line today to ring the alarm bell that BofA must change its ways for the sake of us all and future generations. It is time for BofA to realize that the climate movement is only growing. More and more people of conscience will be inspired to take action until the bank stops funding dirty and dangerous coal and starts funding a clean energy future.