On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, thousands of people across North America—led by older Americans who are Third Act supporters—gathered inside and outside branches of big banks and at climate-impacted sites as part of Third Act’s 3.21.23 Day of Action to demand that banks stop financing the expansion of fossil fuels. Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo are using our money to bankroll the climate crisis, investing in oil drilling, pipelines, and fracking wells that cause global warming.
Seventy percent of the country’s financial assets belong to Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. Tens of thousands of older Americans have signed the Banking on our Future Pledge to move their money out of these banks if the banks don’t move out of fossil fuels.
In March, QEW hosted a webinar with Third Act volunteers to support Friends getting involved across the country. Here we share a few highlights of how Quakers participated:
From Ann Arbor, MI:
From Jan Smith: About fifty people, mostly elders, gathered on a busy corner at the downtown Ann Arbor branch of Chase Bank to call for an end to big banks’ funding of fossil fuels. The action involved several Quakers but came into being on such short notice that Ann Arbor Friends Meeting’s Earthcare Committee was not able to consider co-sponsoring. I do most of my climate work through a local organization called Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, and we did cosponsor and publicize the Day of Action. In addition to singing, holding signs and a banner, and chanting, some people cut up their credit cards. People from at least seven religious faith traditions were present-—probably more—as well as people of conscience who were not part of a faith community.
Friend Ruah Swennerfelt of Middlebury Friends Meeting (VT) helped organize an Interfaith Service of Solidarity supporting Third Act’s Day of Action, using QEW’s Earthcare for Friends curriculum. The service sought to connect people to each other, to the sacred, to the Earth, and to those who are bearing the brunt of the climate disaster, and also created a sacred container to hold all those who were a part of the action the next day.
From Berkeley, CA
From Kathy Barnhart: In Berkeley, about 30 hardy souls gathered in the rain at Chase Bank at the top of Solano Ave., then marched to Wells Fargo Bank, and then to the Bank of America. We waved signs, handed out flyers, sang, marched, and chanted. Several people cut up their credit cards and handed in letters to the bank managers saying they would divest from the bank if the bank didn’t divest from fossil fuels. Taking this action together, knowing that groups all over the country were doing the same thing, inspires us to keep on making our voices heard. Third Act continues on with campaigns regarding democracy and the climate crisis, and is a good national organization for people 60 and over to join and become active.