Richmond: DIVEST!
On June 19th, 2017 we answered Bold Appalachia’s call to defund the pipeline infrastructure which threatens not just Virginia, but the nation as a whole, by asking Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to Divest from the City's primary commercial bank, Wells Fargo. Virginia needs a Climate Mayor to join the cities of Seattle, Davis, and Philadelphia who have severed ties with Wells Fargo because of their support of harmful fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, Atlantic Coast, and Mountain Valley Pipelines. We began with a divestment action at the Wells Fargo on 11th Street, and then delivered our appeal directly to the office of Mayor Stoney. We've included a link if you'd like to view our letter:

Dangerous OIL and LNG pipelines aren’t built on their own. We stand in solidarity with the Indigenous and front line communities campaigning to stop the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, as well as Virginia property owners fighting eminent domain over reach in the case of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. Not only do these projects tread on the rights of private landowners, they threaten the purity of our air and water, and lock us into catastrophic climate change by releasing carbon and methane into the atmosphere while stranding assets in fossil fuels for the next 20-50 years,. Climate science clearly demands we invest in clean, renewable energy.

Wells Fargo has been preying on communities across America for years, especially communities of color. Whether it’s engaging in discriminatory lending, profiting from private prisons and immigrant detention centers, funding payday lenders, financing extreme fossil fuels projects, or selling predatory municipal finance deals to our cities, states, and school districts, Wells Fargo’s business is built on stripping wealth from our communities.These practices include illegal student loan servicing, inappropriate checking account overdraft fees, and unlawful mortgage lending practices, such as overcharging veterans for refinance loans. There are also allegations that the bank has engaged in unlawful practices, including enrolling customers in life insurance policies without their consent, delaying mortgage closing dates until after the expiration of borrowers’ interest rate locked, to levy additional fees, and charging over 570,000 customers for auto insurance policies they did not need, which resulted in at least 20,000 customers, including active duty service members, having their vehicles inappropriately repossessed. It is Divest RVA’s submission that it is City Councils fiduciary responsibility to protect our city’s finances by banking and investing with a financial partner with strong social and customer care standards.

We want Richmond to divest from financial relationships with lenders with history’s of egregious banking practices, and socially irresponsible and morally questionable business behavior that promote Climate Change. We want Richmond to adopt a socially responsible banking and investment policy that supports local banks with ethical customer service codes and climate care practices. Our objective is to build momentum and support for Richmond to divest through local allies, as well as national partners with a Richmond, Virginia presence.We hope you will join us in Divesting your private accounts from Wells Fargo, as well as in our efforts to Divest RVA.

Please show your support by adding your name to our Divestment Letter to Mayor Levar Stoney and the City of Richmond. Note, we are asking for both individuals and Executive Directors (or organizational equivalent) to sign their name on behalf of their institution. Please help promote this sign-on letter by sharing this communication with your community.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert Dilday Kendyl Crawford
RVA Interfaith Climate Justice League Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

Whitney Whiting Faith B. Harris
No ACP Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

Thomas Burkett Lee Williams
Virginia River Healers RVA Pipeline Chair, Virginia Sierra Club

Barb Adams Jamshid Bakhtiari
Quaker Earthcare Witness Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Richard Bargdill Mary-Stuart Torbeck Virginia Green Travel Alliance

Maria Bergheim Carolyn Reilly
350 Loudoun Bold Appalachia

Tonya N. Jefferson
Transnational Imports and Exports LLC

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