New grassroots coalition pushing the nation’s capital to divest from banks behind the controversial pipeline and shift toward just investing passes first milestone
Washington, DC— In celebrating the introduction of a new resolution that would cut DC’s ties with Wells Fargo over its investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline—the morning after activists rallied outside of a downtown Wells Fargo as supporters publicly closed their bank accounts—a new coalition of DC residents proved this week that the national movement that began at Standing Rock is not going away.
On Tuesday morning, more than a dozen members of #DCReInvest—the new coalition of DC-area grassroots groups behind the Wells Fargo divestment campaign—applauded as City Councilmembers David Grosso, Brianne Nadeau, Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, and Vincent Gray introduced a resolution that would recommend that DC reassess its relationship with Wells Fargo and consider more equitable means of managing the city’s money. DC’s current ties to the bank include a $2 billion investment portfolio and a 5-year contract for cash and treasury management services.
If the resolution passes, DC would join a growing number of cities who have cut ties with Wells Fargo (or others among the 15 remaining banks with direct investments in the pipeline), including Seattle, San Francisco, and Davis, California.
“We applaud DC City Council members for introducing this resolution to hold Wells Fargo accountable for its unjust investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, lending discrimination toward Black and Hispanic people, and outright fraud that cost consumers millions and ended up throwing 5,000 employees under the bus,” said Charlie Jiang, an organizer with 350 DC, one of the members of #DCReInvest. Other coalition members include Rising Hearts Coalition and Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) DC.
After the hearing on Tuesday, #DCReInvest also launched a public petition for supporters of the resolution.
The afternoon before the hearing, roughly a dozen coalition supporters also rallied in front of a Wells Fargo branch just a block west of the White House, in a jab at President Donald Trump’s full-throated support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Before his inauguration, Trump reportedly had between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren also donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s 2016 campaign. During the rally, two supporters walked into the bank and closed their Wells Fargo accounts, to applause.
“We are here to ensure the Indigenous voice is heard in the political heartbeat of the country—where decisions are too often made for us, not with us,” said Jordan Marie Daniel, founder and organizer of Rising Hearts—an Indigenous women-led group that organizes and advocates for Indigenous peoples’ rights, and is one of the groups in the #DCReInvest coalition. “It’s time for the nation’s capital to reinvest in the people, instead of investing in dirty infrastructure projects that trample on Indigenous and human rights.”
Video footage of Thursday morning’s hearing is available here.