By Amadi Ajamu
In the wake of a wave of brutal police murders of Black men and women, political activists across the United States have raised the protest and mobilization stakes to the economic level. In New York City, a ‘run on the banks’ has started. The Choice campaign led by the December 12th Movement, is organizing Black people in Brooklyn to close their accounts at white banks and open accounts in the Black founded and operated Carver Bank.
Over 50 people arrived at the Fulton Street branch last Saturday to open accounts while vowing to close their accounts in major banks like Chase and Citibank.
We want Black power and justice, money is the only thing they understand,” declared Jeff Antoine as he waited in line to open his account. “Protest demonstrations and rallies alone are not working. The police keep killing innocent Black people and getting away with it, over and over again. We are taking our money out of their hands and building our own institutions. It’s about self determination for Black people. When we come together we can make major changes and exert our collective power. This is just the beginning.”
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Carver Vice President and Branch manager, Dannette Sullivan Hyatt was on hand greeting everyone. “I am so excited about this initiative. We usually close at 2pm on Saturday but we’re staying open late to take care of everyone. Carver is a full service bank and we thank you all.” The bank did not close until 5:30 PM.
The economic initiative began in a series of community gatherings held in different locations in Bed-Stuy in the past several weeks. Street rallies in key intersections, forums at the historic Underground Railroad refuge Siloam Presbyterian Church and Sistas’ Place Coffee Shop; people of all ages came together to brainstorm during this “state of emergency.”
The Carver Bank initiative will be ongoing, “There is a national movement geared toward Black political and economic self-determination. Black people are moving their money to Black banks in Chicago, Washington DC, New York, and its building up all over ,” said Kamau Brown, an organizer of “The Choice” campaign.
“We must make choices in our own interest. We are facing difficult challenges in every aspect of our lives. Gentrification, deterioration of education, police assaults and murder, mass incarceration, and unemployment, are all linked to systemic racism. The presidential election this year is very important, we are raising the issue of reparations and a national plebiscite so Black people can decide our own destiny.”
The Choice campaign is a project of the December 12th Movement. For more information call 718-398-1766.
Don’t live in NYC? Find Black Banks and Credit Unions by you: http://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/