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"The money that comes out of this bank literally kills poor people in the same community they’re operating in," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. during the sit-in at a Chase Bank branch in Washington, DC. "There’s too many reasons to stop this madness." (Image: TheYearsProject.com/Hip Hop Caucus)

"The money that comes out of this bank literally kills poor people in the same community they’re operating in," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. during the sit-in at a Chase Bank branch in Washington, DC. "There’s too many reasons to stop this madness." (Image: TheYearsProject.com/Hip Hop Caucus)

All We're Asking Is to Let Us Live: Stop the Money Pipeline Now

If you continue to fund projects that are literally putting our planet, our existence on the line, and defining the existence of our children, then you have left us no choice: that we must put our bodies against the gears of the machine and bring it to a grinding halt.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

This January, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus gave a speech at a civil disobedience protest at a Chase Bank branch in Washington, D.C. to help launch the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign. The YEARS Project and Hip Hop Caucus just released a new video of the speech that conveys the power and urgent message of his words. 
"Chase Bank, you have become rogue in your business plan, the same way that slavery and other institutions that no longer have a social license. You are on that path. And that is why we are here."
 
Let me first say to the employees of this branch, we are here not as adversaries. That’s very important. We stand here as humans together. We are brothers and sisters on this planet. 
 
I’m here because I’m originally from Louisiana and 14 and a half years ago, almost 1,900 beautiful Americans, predominantly Black people, but Americans, drowned in the richest country in the world. And I would hope that post-Katrina, that we would be doing things better than what we did 15 years ago. That we would use that time to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy.
 
I would hope that that would be the business plan. The problem though is that the business plan right now, for this bank, for Chase Bank, is that they are funding the fossil fuel industry. Over the past three years, they put $196 billion dollars into the fossil fuel industry.
 
Chase Bank, you have become rogue in your business plan, the same way that slavery and other institutions that no longer have a social license. You are on that path. And that is why we are here.
 
We’re also here because the pipelines you are building are in the communities of Black and Brown people and, so, that can’t be the situation. You’re funding pipeline projects that are literally causing asthma or bronchitis or worse, cancer. We can’t support that.
 
The folks who are impacted by this are people who look like me, who are Black and Brown people who are suffering. I just want to keep it 100% real: that the money that comes out of this bank literally kills poor people in the same community they’re operating in.  There’s too many reasons to stop this madness.  This is not about Republican or Democrat or rich or poor.
"You are funding projects that are killing our existence. This is not only about equality.  It’s about existence."
 
This is about humanity. Listen, there are other ways to make money. You can do better than this. You are funding projects that are killing our future. You are funding projects that are killing our existence. This is not only about equality.  It’s about existence.
 
So, we’re here, to bring you a message.  If you continue to fund projects that are literally putting our planet, our existence on the line, and defining the existence of our children, then you have left us no choice: that we must put our bodies against the gears of the machine and bring it to a grinding halt. 
 
So again, to those who are working, I know on a Friday, I know this is probably the last thing you wanted to see. But get used to it. Because we’re gonna be there. Everywhere you are. As long as you continue to fund destruction. All we’re asking is to let us live. Let. Us. Live. Stop the money pipeline. Thank you. 

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood is the president & founder of Hip Hop Caucus, a minister, community activist and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. Be sure to check out Think 100%, Hip Hop Caucus' award-winning climate justice platform, which includes The Coolest Show podcast. Follow @RevYearwood@HipHopCaucus, and @Think100Climate on social media.

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