Mountain Justice activists made their presence known to Bank of America and it’s members at the branch office in Abingdon.
The MJ activists were promptly locked out of the office but remained outside encouraging Bank of America account holders to close their accounts and doing street education about mountain top removal and Bank of America’s connection to it.
Today, Saturday, March 10, Mountain Justice activists and students from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, and Vermont demonstrated at the Bank of America in Abingdon, Virginia. The students and volunteers gathered to protest the bank’s investment in the coal industry, particularly mountaintop removal strip mining. The educational and theatrical demonstration was coordinated with others in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, in a national effort to protest mountaintop removal coal mining.
Bank of America is one of the leading financiers of mountaintop removal coal mining. The controversial mining practice pollutes air and watersheds, blasts away biodiversity and habitat, and is connected to the acceleration of global climate change.
This protest is the latest action from a growing resistance movement that aims to achieve a sustainable economy and green energy future for Appalachian communities, and ending the current reliance on the coal industry.
Participants in the demonstration highlighted the connections between Wall St. banks and Appalachian strip mining. Actions included a teach-in to raise public awareness about the ties between big banks and big coal. Demonstrators took a direct stance against Bank of America by closing their accounts, and encouraging others to do the same. John Buscarino of North Carolina said, “I closed my account because Bank of America has been using my money to fund the destruction of communities in Appalachia…. I don’t want to be part of supporting mountaintop removal coal mining.”
Mountain Justice also encouraged solidarity actions around Central and Southern Appalachia. In Harrisonburg, VA, Occupy protestors supported the action by also demonstrating in front of their local Bank of America branch downtown.
In Abingdon, the dirty history of Bank of America has been highlighted in the past by local Occupy protestors.
With actions like these, Bank of America is being frequently reminded and strongly encouraged to stop funding mountain top removal and stop supporting the wealthy 1% at the expense of the environment, health, and communities in Appalachia and across the country.
Move Your Money, Not Our Mountains!
March 9, 2012 – Today, more than 50 Mountain Justice volunteers descended upon Johnson City, TN to bring the fight against Mountain Top Removal to a regional branch of the global financial institution, UBS, for their funding of the community poisoning coal mining technique. Many were students from all over America, from
Minnesota to Florida, in the area for Mountain Justice Spring Break, a week long service and learning event focused on building leadership within the youth movement for a clean and just energy future. Carrying signs and singing songs, the demonstrators brought a lively street theater to the sleepy strip mall housing the local presence of the world’s largest funder of mountaintop removal.
The group, joined by members of Occupy Johnson City, sought to bring attention to the cozy relationship between Big Wall St. Banks and Big Coal’s insatiable hunger for profit over the health and safety of the 99%. Enraged by the crushing realities faced by folks living in the shadow of active strip mines in Wise County, the marchers read their Declaration of Grievances, demanding that UBS immediately end financing coal corporations engaged in the destruction of Appalachian Mountains. They sang the classic song of union and solidarity, “Which Side Are You On”, demanding that UBS get on the right side of history and the right side of Justice.
Before participants could even enter the UBS branch, the nervous executives and wealth managers inside locked the doors, refusing to engage in a dialogue about the need for investments in a clean, just and sustainable energy future. After police arrived to protect the interests and security of the 1%, marchers took their action to the sidewalk. Some engaged with passerby’s, finding support from many who share grievances with the Banksters. Whether it’s bailouts, bonuses, tax breaks or forclosures, many in the 99% have right to shout down the big banks who prey off the labor of the rest of us.
With honks of support from passing cars, marchers were approached by employees of Bank of America who expressed their support for the action. Bank of America, with branches on nearly every Main St., is just behind UBS in its financial support for Mountain Top Removal. Mountain Justice supports all those who take a stand and demand an end to any big bank raking in profits on the backs of poisoned communities.
After dropping a banner advertising UBS’s immoral investments from a highway overpass, the marchers doubled back to bring the demonstration to UBS for one more round. This time, the police returned in force, refusing to allow dissent any where near the bastion of 1% profit. With shouts of “Bank of America, You Are Next!”, Mountain Justice exited the scene after disrupting the normal operations of Wall St.’s dirty profit flow.
As part of Mountain Justice Spring Break Virginia, activists with Mountain Justice have called for a Day of Action to Occupy the Lobbies and Move your Money from Big Coal’s Bankster Backers.
Groups in Abingdon, VA; Harrisonburg, VA; Johnson City, TN; and Asheville, NC will take action on Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th of March. Contact us here to meet up with groups in your area, or to commit your group to taking action in Solidarity with Mountain Justice.
Get in touch, join up with an action!
Asheville, NC – firstname.lastname@example.org,
Abingdon, VA – email@example.com, 703 554 4770
Harrisonburg, Va - firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-597-7766
Stop the destruction of Appalachia for the 1% Profit!
Call to Action for March 9th and 10th: Occupy the Lobby and Move your Money
All over the world, people are standing up to demand an end to the tyranny of the richest 1%. From Egypt to New York, Russia to Oakland, China to Appalachia, the 99% of the world is standing up, sitting in, speaking out, and demanding real Democracy and a healthy life for all people.
In 2005, Mountain Justice joined the decades-long Appalachian resistance to demand an end to King Coal’sdestruction of the oldest mountains in the world. Today, Wall Street’s Biggest Banksters continue to finance King Coal to the tune of 10′s of Billions of dollars per year, getting richer off of destructive coal plants, strip mines, and the genocidal poisoning ofcommunities.
In 2012, Mountain Justice and the Movement to End Mountaintop Removal stand with the rest of the 99% in rejection of Wall Street greed and in opposition to the destruction of any community in the name of “Profit” or “Progress”.
Our friends at Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, and many others have already gotten the ball rolling and all across the country we are greeting Spring with people’s actions to demand, create, and build a better world.
We ask you to join us this March 9th and 10th for a day of action. We will demand that Wall Street banks stop funding the Death Cycle of Coal by Occupying Bank Lobbies and Moving our Money away from the banks that lend the most to mountaintop removal mining.
Already groups in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have committed to taking action in solidarity with every community directly affected by the greed of Wall Street and the atrocities of King Coal. Will you stand with us?
Check out Mountain Justice to get ideas for your own actions, find out how to plug in, or meet up with groups taking action in your area.