“Chase Bank is the worst, the number one investor in fossil fuels,” said Climate Action Rhode Island’s Justin Boyan. “They are going to profit from oil, and gas, and drilling and destroying our water, destroying our land, destroying our air – until the last penny is sucked out of the earth for their profits…”
Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) volunteer Brian Wilder led about ten people into Chase Bank on Thayer Street in Providence to present a letter to the branch manager, Tim Olivera, to let him know that protests outside the bank will continue until “Chase stops its massive bankrolling of fossil fuel projects causing the climate catastrophe.” This branch of Chase Bank opened recently and has been an ongoing target of activists since before it opened.
Chase funds more money to more fossil fuel projects than any other bank in the world.
Rather than speak to the activists entering the bank, or engage with them in any way, the bank employees retreated into their offices and called the Providence Police Department. As the bank employees left the lobby, the activists began chanting, “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Chase Bank has got to go.”
“So there’s no customers and there’s no bank manager,” noted Wilder. “This place is not doing too well.”
“We’ve requested a meeting with the branch manager, have we not?” asked CARI member Justin Boyan.
Can we please ask a favor?
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“They’re all hiding in their offices, I guess?” replied Wilder. To two passing bank employees Wilder said, “We sent an invitation to Tim Olivera…”
The two employees kept walking.
“He’s not in. He’s in Boston,” said another employee.
“He’s in Boston. Is there anyone…”
“We have no comment,” said a woman on her phone, handing Wilder a card. “You can call our media department.”
“All right,” replied Wilder. “I’ll give you a letter. That’s to Tim Olivera, that’s to your CEO, Jamie Dimon. I’m sure you know his name…”
The woman abruptly left the room.
Wilder turned to the rest of the activists. “They decided they’re going to sit in their offices, that’s all. That’s going to be their reaction. Guess we can just hold our protest here.”
“Until they ask us to leave,” said Justin. “Nobody’s asked us to leave.”
At this point Wilder and two activists, Rachel and Steve pulled out their Chase credit cards and a pair of scissors.
“We’re here today, Steve Rachel and I,” said Wilder, to a CARI photographer. “We’re cutting up our Chase credit cards. We’re in Chase Bank on Thayer Street in Providence and [the employees] have all gone into their offices so the bank has become our bank. So now it’s a community bank.
“We’re going to cut up our cards.”
And that’s what he did, cutting each card roughly in half.
Eventually, the activists left the bank, just as the Providence Police arrived. The police were not overly concerned, and simply told the protesters to not block the door or enter the bank.
Previous to entering the bank, Wilder was outside, explaining the protest.
“They’re the worst bank in the world,” said Wilder. “Literally the worst bank in the world. We’re here on a regular basis and you’ll notice very few customers going in an out of this bank, because I think people are getting the message that this is a bad bank.”
“You could be buried under a rock and still know by now that the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere incompatible with continued life on the planet,” said Boyan. “Nature is dying, people are dying, superstorms are threatening our coasts, floods are threatening our crops, and literally the fabric of life is unraveling.
“Why is it unraveling? Because banks like Chase Bank are funding and profiting from continued expansion of fossil fuels…
“Chase Bank is the worst, the number one investor in fossil fuels… They are going to profit from oil, and gas, and drilling and destroying our water, destroying our land, destroying our air – until the last penny is sucked out of the earth for their profits…”
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