Photo by RAN Chicago | Adam Gaya delivers a speech on the floor of Chase Bank as RAN activists engage in an action to call attention JPMorgan Chase's investment in mountaintop removal projects.
Activists affiliated with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in Chicago entered Chase Tower in downtown Chicago and engaged in a nonviolent direct action that sent a message to JPMorgan Chase's head of the Office of Corporate Social Responsibility and brother of Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago Bill Daley and other corporate executives at Chase Bank to end their investments in mountaintop removal (MTR) projects.
On April 2nd, between thirty to forty individuals entered the 60-story skyscraper and suddenly came together in the middle of the first floor where bank tellers conduct business. Around ten activists then fell to the floor beginning a "die-in" to show the fatal effects of MTR.
While individuals were on the floor, activist Adam Gaya spoke about Chase's support for MTR. The speech for tellers, managers, and midlevel executives at Chase lasted for just over five minutes and then security at the bank had police entering to remove the protesters.
Police liaisons and lawyers with RAN Chicago stood by as Chase and police sorted out the situation. The action was one where the activists were risking arrest. It was one where video and pictures were extremely difficult to take without being threatened or intimidated by security in the bank (a few were told that the FBI might come after them if they continued to take video of the action).
The activists managed to walk away without being arrested. Several were detained temporarily. Overall, the activists called the action a major success.
Gaya described the action as "striking" and one that was "extremely successful" because many senior executives were on the floor when the action took place.
The RAN Chicago action was the first action in a long campaign that involved activists risking arrest. Up to this point, activists have relied on direct communication to branch managers, the delivering of letters to branches, putting anti-Chase Bank stickers on branch and ATMs in Chicago to advance their campaign. Activists were ready to take the struggle to the next level.
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