From the Understory:
Climate crisis, housing crisis, financial crisis… more and more people are connecting the dots. I just returned from a rally in Harvard Square that put all of the pieces together in a powerful way. More than 150 people came together on a sunny fall day to protest the banks that are financing coal power, foreclosing on homes, and getting rich - all with the backing of the US government and taxpayers’ money. The demonstration (sponsored by RAN and Rising Tide Boston) was peaceful, positive and purposeful - with music and lots of energy to attract and engage the lunchtime crowd.
The multigenerational rally included women in their seventies and a baby attending his second protest. Speakers from City Life/Vida Urbana talked about how Bank of America’s irresponsible lending practices have led to a wave of home evictions in Boston, while other speakers called for Bank of America to take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of its financing. Participants carried signs with the message “Not with Our Money,” bearing pictures of coal power plants, tar sands, and foreclosed homes. Passersby were overwhelmingly supportive and took hundreds of pieces of literature.
After rallying in front of BofA, we marched and danced our way around the corner to the Citi bank branch. Waiting for us were four young activists who had chained themselves in front of the bank to temporarily shut down one branch and send a clear message that we will not stop until the bank stops funding dirty energy and starts investing in sustainable alternatives and community solutions. We kept up the music, chants and songs as police arrested the four. It was a first arrest for each of them, and they looked calm and strong as police unlocked them and took them into custody. They’re still in custody as I write this, and some of the demonstrators have stationed themselves outside of the police station to show their support.
It’s inspiring to see more and more people taking up the call for real solutions to our financial and climate crisis. As peaceful protests spread across the country and increasing numbers of people get involved, I look forward to more afternoons like this one spent with ever-larger crowds of people who can see a better future and won’t stop until we get there.
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