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Environmental group protests Chase Bank and Wells Fargo with ‘die-ins’ at Old Town branches

Chanting and holding signs, a local environmental group protested Chase Bank and Wells Fargo with ‘die-ins’ at their Old Town branches.

On Monday afternoon (April 4), more than a dozen protestors from the group TH!RD ACT-VA walked into both banks and chanted “What do we want? Climate change! What do we need? System change!” and delivered letters to local branch managers to forward to Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Wells Fargo CEO Charles W. Scharf. The letters demand that the banks “divest from fossil fuels this year.”

JP Morgan Chase & Co. is the top arranger of bonds for fossil fuel companies in the world, followed by Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Last year, each of those banks joined the United Nations’ Net Zero Banking Alliance, pledging to have their investment portfolios represent only companies with no emissions by 2050.

But the banks have a long way to go, said TH!RD ACT-VA organizer Deborah Kushner.

“Chase’s business plan is planetary death and destruction,” Kushner said. “It’s up to us to wake Chase. If Chase Bank does not stop all fossil fuel funding by the end of this year, we pledged to close all their accounts with Chase.”

TH!RD ACT-VA is made up of senior citizens from across the state, and has conducted similar protests in Richmond and Charlottesville. Their main online presence is on Facebook, and they ask that supporters sign an online pledge against banking with the lenders.

Organizer Bill Muth, of Richmond, brought his young grandchildren to the event, and said they participated in the die-in because the issue of climate change concerns future generations.

“I cannot stand by and watch an institution fund industries that are destroying the air supply of my grandchild,” Muth said, and then played dead with them and other protestors on the red brick sidewalk.

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