Feb 9, 2017 - Victory! Seattle Divests $3 Billion from Wells Fargo
Seattle, WA On February 7th 2017, the Seattle city council voted unanimously to end its relationship with Wells Fargo due to the banks financing of the Dakota Access pipeline and other unethical banking practices.
“We are taking a bold policy step today that is what this movement wants to see and asks to see.” Seattle City council member Lorena Gonzalez
Last September, LRI editor Matt Remle approached council member Kshama Sawant to support efforts to divest Seattle from Wells Fargo due to their backing of the Dakota Access pipeline.
What followed was the crafting of a socially responsible banking ordinance that not only ended Seattle’s $3 billion per year relationship, but established criteria banks would have the adhere to in order to bid on city contracts, such as, not engaging in predatory lending practices, not investing to projects like DAPL that violate treaty and human rights, nor investing in corporations involved in environmental degradation.
“People say ‘money talks’, we say, ‘no it doesn’t. We do‘” Seattle City council member Debora Juarez (Blackfeet)
Prior to the full council vote, Seattle’s Native community galvanized support by holding numerous demonstrations, rallies, direct actions and lobbying council members for support. A coalition was formed drawing in other grassroots organizers from the environmental community and organizers opposing mass incarceration. The ordinance high lights Wells Fargo’s investment into private prisons as yet another reason to divest.
“Today we sent a message to not only Wells Fargo, but to all finical institutions and corporations engaging in unethical practices, that your business is not welcome here. Understand that Seattle was simply the start. We are actively working with other cities, Tribes and jurisdictions in similar campaigns to divest. This fight against DAPL and other projects violating Treaty rights and abusing Ina Maka [Mother Earth] is far from over.” Matt Remle (Lakota)
Photos from City Council vote
Ray Kingfisher, Matt Remle, Paul Wagner, Jesse Nightwalker L-R Photo by Susan Fried
Rachel Heaton with council member Kshama Sawant. Photo by Alex Garland
Millie Kennedy. Photo by Alex Garland
Photo by Alex Garland
Members of NoDAPL Seattle coalition Photo by Redwolf Pope