The 2nd Civil Rights Movement ………………………….………. moving

March 10th was the Native Nations/Rise With Standing Rock March on Washington and a companion march in Downtown Los Angeles was Divest LA.

In Skid Row on March 5th was a Skid Row Community Discussion on Standing Rock. Deacon Alexander, one of the leaders of the Black Panther Party in L.A. in the late 1960’s, made the comment that when the land was emptied on February 23rd, the Standing Rock Sioux lost their Moral High Ground (ground as in land).

Mustafa Ali founded 24 years ago the Environmental Justice office of the Environmental Protection Agency. The office describes its’ mission as reducing the disproportionate impact environmental issues have on minority, low-income, and indigenous people. He is now the senior vice-president of the Hip Hop Caucus, a national nonprofit that recruits and organizes activists on social justice issues.

Divest L.A. went from Pershing Square, the historic town square of Downtown Los Angeles, up to City Hall. The march and rally was saturated in Native culture and stories of Standing Rock. On the steps of City Hall, the following petition was read out loud:

“We the people call on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council to divest from Wells Fargo. We will not support financial institutions that illegally foreclose on working-class families, discriminate against people of color or low-income consumers, commit mortgage fraud, invest in oppression against indigenous peoples, or finance the destruction of our shared environment.

We are petitioning LA City Council to pass an ordinance to end the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo, and amend the current Responsible Banking Ordinance (RBO) to include stronger social and environmental criteria when considering banking contracts.

Wells Fargo is a major financier of the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil pipeline project that has destroyed sacred tribal lands, endangers the clean water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and millions of Americans, and has resulted in human rights violations of indigenous peoples and water protectors.

Wells Fargo’s morally bankrupt practices are further exemplified by the 2016 lawsuit filed against the bank by the Los Angeles City Attorney for fraudulently opening more than two million unauthorized checking and credit card accounts, victimizing ordinary citizens for profit gain. For their deceptive practices, the bank settled with the County and City of Los Angeles for $185 million. This is one of numerous lawsuits filed against Wells Fargo by the city. Our representatives cannot continue to trust taxpayer money with a bank repeatedly sued for corruption.

The City of Seattle recently achieved a landmark victory by divesting $3 billion from Wells Fargo, specifically highlighting the bank’s recent settlement with the City of LA and financing Dakota Access Pipeline. The City of Davis, CA followed suit by voting to divest $125 million from Wells Fargo. The divestment movement is underway.

Cities all across the United States are strengthening socially responsible banking ordinances and divesting from unethical banks. We can no longer sit idle as our banks profit from injustice. The people are ready to take on the big banks and fossil fuel industry, regardless of who resides in the White House. Seattle was the first major city to divest. Los Angeles will be next.

We are calling on our elected city officials and all Los Angeles residents to take a stand for a socially conscious and ethical world and divest all funds from DAPL. Stand with the people and protect the planet. Divest for our future.”

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