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Milwaukee: People’s Climate Coalition marches on Wells Fargo, Chase Bank

By Ryan Hamann |
December 9, 2019
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Milwaukee protest demands action on climate change.
Milwaukee protest demands action on climate change. (Photo by Joe Brusky)

Milwaukee, WI – Several hundred people gathered on the morning of December 6 in downtown Milwaukee at Zeidler Park to demand that the big banks like Wells Fargo, Chase and other corporations divest from the fossil fuel industry.

Several classrooms worth of children from local public schools attended the event in support of a safe and livable planet for their futures. The People’s Climate Coalition, consisting of local climate justice groups, put out the call and organized the event.

All representatives from the coalition and its allies were given an opportunity to speak. Each highlighted in different ways the pressing need for action against climate change. One line that could be traced through all the comments, though, was an indictment of corporations as the root cause of the climate crisis.

After the speeches, participants marched several blocks over to the Wells Fargo building where they joined nearly a dozen others who were occupying the lobby of the bank. The occupiers were leaders from several of the member groups of the coalition. The marchers on the outside took to chanting by the doors and windows.

With calls of “System change, not climate change!” and “Climate change is a war - of the rich upon the poor!” the marchers made sure that those on the inside knew they had support. The Milwaukee Police Department descended on the action and rounded up the activists in the building. Four police vans hauled them away while a dozen officers held back the crowd.

“This issue is a human crisis and if we don’t start making systemic change, then the effects will be irreversible,” said Erin Sankey, an organizer with the People’s Climate Coalition. “The movement must continue on a path where we target corporations and banks because they have gotten away with actions for too long.”

Sankey continued, “I just want to add that I am so proud of the movement and the engagement from everyone, especially the children, and I cannot wait to see where this takes us.”

This planned civil disobedience was just the opening action in what the coalition intends to be a broader offensive for climate justice in the city of Milwaukee.

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