Skip to content
View Featured Image

Bank Of America Actions Send Strong Message To #DumpDominion

Above Photo: We Are Cove Point is greeted by media (in the far left) during a #DumpDominion action in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

December 16, activists with We Are Cove Point visited 10 Bank of America locations around the mid-Atlantic to call on the bank to stop financing Dominion Resources. This day of action was taken as part of We Are Cove Point’s Dump Dominion campaign that was launched with an occupied banner hang from the upper deck of Bank of America Stadium in the bank’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, during the middle of a Monday Night Football game in early November.

Bank of America is the most recognizable part of a group of banks that have extended Dominion a $4 billion line of credit to fund much of Dominion’s current fracked-gas infrastructure build-out throughout the mid-Atlantic region — very much including the construction of Dominion’s liquefied natural gas export terminal being built in Cove Point, Maryland. This export terminal is planned to include a full-scale power plant, a liquefaction train and the storage of 410,000 gallons of propane near homes in a residential neighborhood. This would directly threaten the lives and well-being of thousands of people living around the terminal as well as those in all of the areas that would see increased fracking and gas infrastructure because of this terminal.

For more information on why we’re demanding that Bank of America dump Dominion, visitdumpdominion.org.

 

Washington, DC — Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights:

Donny Williams locked out of the Dupont Circle Bank of America.

We showed up at the busy Dupont Circle location and attempted to walk right in to give our letter to the bank manager before there were any concerns with us flyering outside. Instead, we were instantly met by a private security guard who was obviously waiting for us. He got in front of us, went inside and locked the doors. No explanation was given to why he did that. Soon, another Bank of America security guard came out and stood in front of the doors for a while, not responding to questions to why we couldn’t enter the bank. Quickly, all security guards went inside the branch, and an employee posted a sign on the door saying the location was temporarily closed “due to situations beyond [the bank’s] control.” We — and the many customers who attempted to do business at that branch — saw no reason why the bank should shut down because of a few people flyering outside. It was sad to see Bank of America care so little about its customers. It’s our hope that Bank of America shows more care toward the people of Lusby, Maryland — and all over the eastern US who would be impacted by dangerous natural gas projects if Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export terminal is built. Overall, this location was closed for nearly two hours as we talked with people, passed out flyers and took pictures of people agreeing that this bank should no longer finance Dominion Resources.

Donny delivers the letter at the Columbia Heights branch of Bank of America.

We arrived at the Columbia Heights location a little early. Perhaps they weren’t ready for us yet, because we were allowed to go right in. The bank manager came out pretty quickly to speak with us. She received our letter and was very pleasant in our conversation about why Bank of America needed to part ways with Dominion. She mentioned that she had already received the letter in an internal email that morning. We talked for a while and cheerfully wished each other a good day before we exited the building. A few minutes later, a large metal gate came down, declaring the lobby closed indefinitely. Again, we — and customers — were puzzled as to why such a large corporation would be so threatened by people handing out flyers outside on a busy street. We made the most of the situation, enjoying the sunny day, meeting a lot more supporters and having a really productive time spreading the word about the harmful impacts of the LNG export terminal Bank of America is helping to build in Southern Maryland. This branch was closed for more than an hour and a half during the lunchtime rush.

Between the two locations we passed out more than 300 flyers and had longer conversations with a lot of those people. We didn’t meet anybody who thought Bank of America should keep lending money to Dominion.

 

KevinBaltimore, Maryland — Downtown:

We had a good action in Downtown B’more. Lots of security inside and outside! They were expecting a crowd. Kevin and Kate went inside to deliver the letter and met with the manager. (She was reluctant, but Kevin made sure she understood what this was about.) They were all so worried about us, but we had good talks with security outside who mostly left us alone. One guard appreciated the work to help pay for Christmas presents. (We are a jobs program!)

Passed out almost all of our fliers. Good visibility with traffic. Raised a lot of awareness. Just a few pro people, but when they said it was safe, I said that nobody can say that without a quantitative risk assessment. There were lots who don’t like BofA.

 

Baltimore, Maryland — Charles Village:

12374855_10153968948742176_8202494836946545615_o (1)The manager only knew that she had instructions to “keep them out.”  I stood in line and listened to her talk.

The paid security person, the one at every BofA branch, was the one who came inside and notified the manager. The manager and the security guard stayed behind the locked doors, side by side, the entire time.

Manager Kara dismissed all concerns by saying, “There is only two of them.” Her calm disposition did not match the energy she was projecting on everyone in that branch. I told her that locking the doors is a fire hazard. She stood at that door from 12 p.m. until 1:10 p.m., the entire time we were there. When security asked if they should call the police, Kara said, “It’s just two people. I’m not going to.”

We were peaceful and our patron sympathizers came out telling us, “The tellers say you are blocking the entrance.” WTF! The tellers couldn’t even see us because the manager and security person had closed another set of doors, locked them, and stood in front of them.

One patron found it interesting how much distress people were feeling inside and projecting on others.

Johns Hopkins University sent one security person (you know, the people in all bright neon yellow on every other corner). She asked how long we would be, and I told her until the sun went down. She laughed and said she was leaving soon when her shift was over. She only stayed for 15 minutes. She was replaced by another neon yellow person who actually did not engage with us and stood at the other end of the building. That security person loomed about while we were there.

I waved at Kara when we left but found no smile on her face. I hope she endorses our campaign of dumping Dominion.

 

12362920_1655056471425669_8378809905144993753_oOlney, Maryland:

In Olney, Maryland, today, it was more interesting than I’d expected.

After I showed up, on the public sidewalk, with my signs, a security guard appeared at the door to the BofA branch. Ten minutes later, a second guard came, and they began engaging each customer who wanted to enter (presumably to make sure they weren’t with me, a good 100 meters away). Another 10 minutes passed, and a car arrived with a third guard. Olney being a very car-oriented community, no one walks to the bank, so although everyone who drove in to park or to use the drive-through could see my signs, I had no interactions with them.

A woman from a half hour away, Christiane, came with half-sheet flyers she’d printed from the website. Since there was no foot traffic, she went across to the Safeway and began asking each customer if they had BofA accounts, and chatted them up until her supply of flyers was gone.

When I decided, after an hour and a half or so, that it was time to move on to my next task of the day, I took off my We Are Cove Point t-shirt and noticed a guard on his cellphone. I crossed the street and walked away from where I’d parked my car. Apparently, not far enough, because when I peeked around a building near my car, I saw a fourth guard watching me. Since he saw me, I went to my car and, as I got in, he lifted a large rectangular box, apparently some sort of camera, and I saw a flash. He continued to look into his box as I left, and I wondered if it was taking video as well.

I hadn’t expected that, and was pretty spooked. I’d been on a public sidewalk within shouting distance of a county police substation, but rather than an interaction with a county mounty, I was being recorded. So I’m guessing that BofA had decided to compare notes with Dominion, which of course has photos of all of us who’ve crossed them.

 

1boaddleesburgLeesburg, Virginia:

We walked into Bank of America in Leesburg. Right away we noticed the security guard standing outside. We asked to see the manager when walked in. We were told he was with a customer but that he would be with us momentarily. I had the letter in hand to read to the manager. He did not want us to stay and asked the security guard to escort us out. I stood there reading the letter. It was clear we were to be removed from the bank by the actions of the security guard who grabbed me and tried to escort me out. I was not paying attention to him but was instead focused on reading that letter. Thankfully one of our members, Suzanne, was there to tell the security guard not to touch me. He backed off but still tried to move me towards the door. I was not going to leave. I was going to stand there and continue reading until I was done. The manager was getting agitated and wanted was out…he kept asking the security guard to remove us from the bank. I was almost done and Suzanne told the security guard to let me finish reading the letter because I was getting close to the end of it. By this time I was slowly walking towards the door while finishing the letter, then I set the letter on the table so the manager could see it. We then walked outside to stand on the sidewalk with our signs.

Thirty minutes later I noticed 2 police cars drive into the bank and figured they had been called. One officer walked up to us to ask what we were doing. I explained that we were asking the bank to dump Dominion Power because they are polluters and that they are building compressor stations, one in Loudoun and one in Fairfax that will leak deadly carcinogens into the air.  He didn’t seem to know what was going on and at that moment, Lee told him that’s exactly what Dominion wants. They want to keep that a secret so no one knows what is going on. He further explained more about the action at the stadium that was seen on television so the officer could get a clearer picture. The officer was very nice about that and understood our right to be there as long as we were not blocking the entrance to the bank.

I have to thank Suzanne and KD for being there and especially Lee for organizing this action in Loudoun! It would not have happened without them! I am proud of what we did and to know we were part of something larger to get this message across about Dominion’s dirty doings and to tell B. of A. #DumpDominion!

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO.

 

922891_1655056211425695_1946363401186415538_n (1)Harrisonburg, Virginia:

We passed out 100 flyers and two people said they had cut their cards because of our action. (The local TV did a “heads up” piece this morning.)

CLICK HERE TO SEE THAT VIDEO REPORT.

Charlie Strickler and Michael Snell-Fekema delivered the letter and were sitting in the office of a manager talking for three minutes when she took a phone call and then told them that was security, that she couldn’t talk to them, and that they had to leave. Charlie asked if he could leave the letter, and she said he could put it on her desk.

 

Asheville, North Carolina:

1933185_1655055971425719_2266543854707162456_oYesterday in Asheville, Said, Greg and Steve visited four of the five local branches of Bank of America to let them know that continued BofA lending to Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility is unconscionable. We handed out a few fliers and gave the managers a letter.

Since there was very little foot traffic at the banks on a Wednesday afternoon, we did not spend a lot of time at each, but went into all four, and in all four talked to the managers for a few minutes, explaining why Dominion’s LNG export facility is bad for Cove Point and a bad investment for Bank of America. Two of the managers told us that they had been alerted about our coming before we arrived. One of these said she had been looking for us since the morning, which seems to suggest that BofA knew about us and was concerned even before the protests started in DC and Baltimore. The two other managers did not seem surprised to see us. All were polite.

We asked all four managers if we could sing a fracking version of Jingle Bells for them and their customers. Three refused. But one said “sure,” smiled broadly, and stood with us inside the bank while we sang. I tried to take a photo of the chorus with her in it, but she refused the opportunity.

As we were leaving the last of the four banks in Biltmore Village, the manager said to us, “Thanks for taking the time to raise an important issue.”

All the managers said they would send the #DumpDominion letter that we gave them to higher-ups in Charlotte.

It should be noted that Bank of America in Asheville has over the years been a target of repeated protests. During Occupy in 2011 and 2012, there were almost weekly actions at Bank of America branches, including banner drops, civil disobedience, erecting windmills on their lawn, singing and other activities. During Occupy, Bank of America actually closed permanently its main branch in downtown Asheville.

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

Another #DumpDominion action is scheduled for Friday, December 18, in New Haven, Connecticut. Show up at noon at 157 Church St. in New Haven if you’d like to participate in that.

You can also do your own actions at Bank of America whenever you’d like. Feel free to download flyers, letters or signs, and head out to your nearest branch to keep sending the message that Bank of America needs to #DumpDominion! Please send pictures and an account to donny@wearecovepoint.org or our Facebook page if you do this.

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.