by Chris Hicks, Student Labor Action Project Coordinator
May 9, 2012 | Charlotte, NC
The buses began to roll in as early as 5am, hundreds pouring in from around the region to confront Bank of America. After years of foreclosing on hard working families, financing pay-day lenders that bankrupted communities, and bankrolling dirty energy the 99% came to tell Bank of America shareholders that these businesses practices were too much and had to end. The message was simple: “This isn’t Bank of America, it’s Bank vs America.”
The day began with 3 different feeder marches that focused on the environment, housing foreclosures, and workers’ rights, that all joined together outside of the shareholders meeting. Filling the streets and intersections with chants of “Bank of America you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side” and “I pay, YOU pay, why doesn’t BofA?” Sarita Gupta of National Jobs with Justice spoke to the crowd of hundreds about the corporate greed Bank of America shows daily. “As shareholders have spent the week being wined and dined, we are losing our homes, our jobs, and our future,” she said before leading the group into chants.
While much of the day was focused on what was happening outside, there was much more in play. Over 100 community members, workers, and families facing foreclosures were able to get inside the meeting with proxies to share their stories and ask why Bank of America continued to use business practices. CEO Brian Moynihan pledged to hear all the stories and “answer questions, and we’ll do it for the rest of the afternoon if that’s what it takes” before ending the meeting two hours after it began.
As the 99% Spring continues to move on the attention pivots to Sallie Mae and their shareholder meeting on May 24th. Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan are both proud members of 1%, making over $10 million dollars per year while dodging responsibility towards building an economy that works for everyone.
Check out some of the press coverage: