Maria, Cait, and Sophie joined in on a conference call with Mazaska Talks, a Seattle-based group that is organizing to help other cities follow Seattle and Davis’ lead in ending contracts with banks that are directly or indirectly financing DAPL.
Here are Maria’s notes on the call:
Divest Your City Conference Call
Intro to the Campaign: Think about where our money is invested. Remove it from institutions with unjust practices (racially predatory loan practices) and invest it in institutions that promote social justice (Black owned, Latino owned etc.)
Top goal: keep movement indigenous lead.
-But want to empower everyone to guide your city and community to divest. -We have a divest guide online.
-Make sure that to involve indigenous community because that is where this started.
-Pull organizations together to form a coalition.
-Keep fight relevant to the local population. Bring up local fights. Think about local issues and tie them in with NODAPL. This might help you pull in people who wouldn’t normally join.
-Call out to tribes in the area
-Phone calls and email parties
-Rallies outside banks
-It took over several months- so you have to find things to do to keep attention on divestment. Make sure you constantly communicate what is going on to the public.
-Fill up city hall and testify
-Speaker events where water protectors spoke about their experiences.
-Our email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email us your name, city, and org that you are with so that we can connect people working on this issue in the same city.
-Consumer Federal Protection Bureau: research your bank and what they’ve been up to
Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant:
-Why Seattle has been so successful in passing progressive orders ($15 minimum wage etc.)? There is a strong grassroots movement here.
-I belong to a social activist organization (I take home a normal worker’s salary- the additional money goes into a social activism solidarity fund).
-There were already social justice criteria that applied to any contract that Seattle has. We have strengthened it: now if a business wants to do business with the city of Seattle they can’t have a past of socially irresponsible action or discrimination.
-It will be hard to find a responsible big bank so we want to push for a public bank.
-Bottom line: If you want to win you have to build from below. Strong grassroots movement, indigenous activists, and environmental activists working together.
– Just came from a meeting about divesting the county from U.S Bank
-Over the summer, started by targeting individuals asking them to divest from banks directly or indirectly supporting DAPL.
-Then decided to try to start work on Seattle.
-Relationships with elected officials and staff is key to a successful movement. You have to have someone who will listen.
-While working on Seattle we also started working on other cities. We decided to start with Seattle because we thought it would get the most attention.
-We were working with organizations in Berlin. Today they announced their banks will divest 128 million from a institutions funding DAPL.