From Ron Williams, Executive Director, Oregon Action
Alliance for a Just Society affiliate Oregon Action testified in front of the Portland City Council on May 9th in support of a local ordinance that would divest money out of Wells Fargo and into local community banks and credit unions. Continue reading »
On Saturday November 5th, the Alliance and its affiliates joined hundreds of thousands of activists from across the country for “Bank Transfer Day, a “deadline” of sorts calling for people to shift their funds from for-profit banking institutions to not-for-profit credit unions.
Wells Fargo was put on notice last week as Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), the Alliance for a Just Society, and community members took their grievances with the Wall Street bank to the streets of Denver. The week started out with a delegation of homeowners, union members, immigrants, and students delivering their set of demands to Western Regional CEO Tom Honig, and vowing to not let up on Wells Fargo until their demands were met.
They made good on that promise when a group of “Robin Hoods” joined CPC on Tuesday to take their money back. The delegation turned in over 300 signatures of individuals, all pledging to take their money out of Wells Fargo. They also pledged to actively work with the City of Denver to ensure that tax dollars would stay out of the hands of Wall Street.
The next day, 99 letters from occupytheboardroom.com were delivered to both Tom Honig, Western Regional CEO, and Nathan Christian, Regional President, who coincidentally live across the street from one another in a gated community. But snow, gates, and security cameras did not deter Robin Hoods from delivering their message. Watch what happened here.
On Thursday, homeowners in jeopardy of losing their homes gathered outside the Wells Fargo Center to demand action. And Wells Fargo responded by locking their doors. CPC and the homeowners were not deterred and set up a makeshift “Fargoville” outside of the locked doors. Watching through the windows of the building, bankers looked out on more than 150 protesters. Angered at Wells Fargo’s use of high-interest subprime loans directed at communities of color and “robo-signing” tactics, the protestors demanded that Wells Fargo and other “big” banks put a moratorium on all foreclosures. In addition, they called on Wells Fargo to pay back home-owners who helped bail them out by resetting mortgages to their true market value.
Vicki Dillard, one of the protesters who is experiencing difficulties with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage after she was a victim of predatory lending, explained the group’s objective was to ensure that home owners are not the ones being blamed for the crisis.
“We are trying to name who the villain is, and that is truly Wells Fargo and the big banks. I believe that we are starting to refocus and get the target back on who the target really is.” Dillard said. “I hope that this motivates people to begin using their voice and to get our elected officials, the law, and hopefully the banks to do some things are on their own.”
Another group of protestors marched from the CPC offices on Santa Fe Drive to the Denver Performing Arts Center where they joined Occupy Denver in a protest at the Colorado Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon that featured Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both groups are vehemently opposed to the U.S. Chambers investment of $750 million over the last 15 years to heavily influence elections and gain corporate-friendly policies for the benefit of the 1 percent. With swelled numbers the group then marched to the Wells Fargo Center to join the homeowners in “Fargoville.”
The week capped off with an action to highlight Wells Fargo’s investments in the two largest private prison corporations – GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America. CPC, The Alliance for a Just Society, and hundreds of protestors met at the Auroria Campus. Students, dressed as the “Bulls of GEO and Wells Fargo”, were paraded down Main Street in a “prison stagecoach”, and the march continued on to Wells Fargo Center. The march ended with “Robin Hood” freeing the students and symbolically putting GEO and Wells Fargo in the prison instead.
The Mile High Showdown is just the beginning of Colorado Progressive Coalition and the Alliance’s campaign against big bank greed. To get involved, please go to www.progressivecoalition.org and sign up to become a member of CPC.