We need everyone, from those of us living paycheck to paycheck on up to millionaires and billionaires, to join us in aligning our money with our values. Withhold your consent from a global finance system that puts profits ahead of our water, our land, our rights as Indigenous people and a safe planet for our future generations. Join us to tell the banks to divest now!
Move your money
If you are ready for the next step, it's time to move your money. If you have a financial relationship (accounts, loans, credit cards) with one of these banks, first find an alternative and set up a new account in an institution that does not invest in fossil fuel extraction. This guide can help you make a smooth transition.
Then, go to your bank and publicly close your account. Make sure to submit a letter to management explaining that you don't want to finance an institution that profits from human rights abuses and puts our water at risk.
divest your tribe/city/organization
1. Find out if they bank with any of the institutions funding these projects.
For your city, you can do this by simply by contacting the City Clerk or City Treasury and asking -- they are legally obligated to tell you. Alternatively, you can try calling your City Council Member that is the head of the City’s finance committee, and asking. If you can't find your city on the list, help us find out.
If it turns out that they are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, congratulations: you have a campaign!
2. BUILD A COALITION OF LOCAL GROUPS
Find other groups in your community to ally with. In Seattle, the first city to move towards total divestment (of $3 billion from Wells Fargo), the coalition was made up of a collective of leading Native American activists, as well as local groups such as Ndns for Justice, 350 Seattle, Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites and Our Revolution.
Make sure to center communities who are forced to bear the brunt of the destruction caused fossil fuel extraction (e.g. communities near extraction sources, refineries, in the path of other pipeline projects). Reach out to diverse organizations who may be interested in working with you to plan and promote the action. These may include: Native American and indigenous; environmental; labor; health; faith; social justice; and other types of organizations.
3. DRAFT AN ORDINANCE AND FIND A SPONSOR
Get the ball rolling by drafting an ordinance: You can use the Seattle ordinance here to help draft your own.
Find a City or Tribal Council Member who will support the ordinance: Who is the most connected to the broader community? Reach out to them and request a meeting. If you have already built a coalition by this point, you are more likely to get the meeting. Also, if you have any prominent locals who will speak out in support of the bill, bring them to the meeting as well.
Once you are at the meeting explain to the Council Member (or their legislative aide, if that is who you end up meeting with) that the City of Seattle, the Mille Lacs Tribe, and Muckleshoot Tribe have already done this -- and that you would like to see your own City/Tribe support Standing Rock by divesting from the big banks funding the pipeline.
Once you have a Council Member who has agreed to sponsor the bill, you are ready for the next vital step.
4. ORGANIZE GRASSROOTS SUPPORT
Once the ordinance is in discussion within City Council and is tabled for a vote, you will want to let Council Members know that there is a lot of support behind this ordinance.
Plan a demonstration, drop a banner in a highly visible location, organize a day for the public to shut down their accounts at the same time. Pray for the water.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like help planning an action!