Activists demand that Chase Bank stop funding the climate crisis, call for Rhode Island boycott of new local branches

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Protesters call Chase Bank the “#1 Worst Bank in the World for funding fossil fuel projects.”

Chase Bank is beginning a major expansion into Rhode Island with the planned openings of 8-10 branches, including one on Thayer Street in Providence, but that move is being challenged by environmental groups who call Chase the “#1 Worst Bank in the World for funding fossil fuel projects.”

Members and allies of Sunrise RI and Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI), some dressed in yellow “toxic” jumpsuits, descended on the as yet unopened Chase Bank located at 234 Thayer Street carrying signs and bullhorns. Protesters called on the CEO of Chase Bank, Jamie Dimon, to stop funding the fossil fuel industry and, until they do so, they are calling upon Rhode Islanders to boycott Chase.

“Our ask of Chase Bank and CEO Jamie Dimon is simple: listen to the science, acknowledge the crisis, and stop funding fossil fuel extraction,” said Nicole DiPaolo, a longtime Rhode Island activist on environmental and other social justice issues. “Until they respond, we call upon Rhode Islanders to boycott Chase Bank. We will not sit by as flooding, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, and other effects of human-induced global warming cause widespread devastation, suffering, and over 150,000 deaths per year and rising. We want corporations and policy makers in the United States to take accountability for their role in this, and make choices that protect our health and the future of life on earth.”

A recent report released by the Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, BankTrack, Oil Change International, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Honor the Earth shows that several major United States banks have increased their investments in fossil fuels every year since the 2016 Paris Agreement – with JP Morgan Chase by far lending the largest amount to the most fossil fuel projects around the world.

Chase has invested $196B into tar sands, arctic drilling, and fracking since 2016 – more than any other bank. Since President Donald Trump took office, Chase has quadrupled its investments in tar sands oil and increased its financing of coal by over 2,000 percent.

“Chase Bank has a long history of investing in and profiting from things that are bad for our communities and it’s time to stop them from overrunning our environment and all of us,” said Greg Gerritt, a member of Climate Action Rhode Island.

“Indifference to injustice for the sake of profit is the reason we’re in the serious situation that we’re in now,” said climate activist Rudy Kai. “The indifference of those walking past on the street but more important: The indifference of those in power as they continue to profit from the destruction of our planet…”

“JP Morgan Chase doesn’t care about us or our futures, they’ve made that abundantly clear,” said Sarah, a 15-year old high school student and organizer with Sunrise RI. “But we are gathered here today because we care for one another, because we care about each other’s futures, and we care enough to band together in the face of opposition and take back what is ours.”

The entire protest lasted about an hour. The Chase Bank location on Thayer Street is being used to train Chase staff, and will open as a branch in August.

This local protest is part of a much larger national protest against Chase Bank. See:

Here’s the rest of the protest, including all the singing and chanting:

Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) is the Rhode Island affiliate of 350.org

Sunrise RI is affiliated with the national Sunrise movement popularized by United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


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About Steve Ahlquist 988 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com

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