Photo Credit: Kristine Jelstrup

Action calls on banks and insurers stop supporting fossil fuel expansion and respect Indigenous rights

Photos of the action will be linked here
Boston, MA | Massachusett land (October 29, 2021) – As part of the national #FossilFreeFuture day of action, a coalition of youth, Indigenous communities, and climate activists are organizing a march in Boston from insurance giant Liberty Mutual to Wall Street megabank JPMorgan Chase, demanding an immediate end to the insuring and funding of fossil fuel expansion. Dozens of Massachusetts organizations have come together to call out financial institutions for their complicity in the climate crisis and Indigenous rights violations.
The Fossil Free Future: Day of Action event in Boston, MA begins outside Liberty Mutual’s global headquarters in Back Bay (175 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116) at 3:45pm, where Indigenous leaders will expose the insurance giant’s support of rights-violating projects like the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, and oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.  
“Not only is Liberty Mutual a key-enabler of fossil fuel expansion, the Boston-based insurer has the most ties to the fossil fuel industry with 8 of the 15 directors (57%) having worked in the fossil fuel industry and 6 (43%) holding current leadership roles at fossil fuel companies. Frontline communities don’t need Liberty Mutual’s brand of incrementalism. We need radical change in policies and leadership,” said Jean-Luc Pierite, Board President of the North American Indian Center of Boston.  
The group will then march to the Downtown Crossing branch of JPMorgan Chase, where young people plan to deliver a message to Chase executives to stop destroying their futures and respect Indigenous rights. 
“JPMorgan Chase is the #1 banker of fossil fuels in the world. Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, Chase has given $317 billion to the fossil fuel industry, funding the corporations that are destroying our future. As young people, we are saying no more. We’re taking to the streets to demand Chase stop funding climate destruction,” said Grace Yang, a 16-year-old organizer with Fridays For Future.
“A few weeks ago, I joined with thousands of other activists in Washington DC to protest in front of the White House for President Biden to honor his commitments for climate justice he made during the campaign. Today, we’re bringing that same energy to the actual financiers of the crisis: Liberty Mutual and Chase Bank. We call on Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to divest in oil and invest in the future,” said Reggi Alkiewicz, organizer with the North American Indian Center of Boston. 
Days before the world’s most important climate change conference, COP26 in Glasgow, pressure is building in Boston and globally on financial institutions to take real climate action and cut the greenwashing.  
“As we face unprecedented wildfires and storms caused by decades of reckless, harmful action by fossil fuel companies, the stakes of climate action are ever increasing. Spills in the Pacific, expansion into sacred Indigenous lands, a violent state response against activists, and disinformation campaigns are only some of the atrocities we see. And yet, our governments and leaders are refusing to hold these companies to account. Young people are not going to sit by and let that happen. We’re standing together and demanding that all institutions, especially banks and insurers, take bold action immediately and stop funding fossil fuel projects,” said Sam Crowley, organizer with Sunrise Boston.
Today’s national day of action is kicking off a new youth-led campaign – titled Fossil Free Future – which will go after the financial institutions perpetuating the climate crisis. The Boston event is one of dozens that are taking place nationwide to spotlight Chase, Liberty Mutual, BlackRock, the Federal Reserve, and other major financial institutions. 
“Youth activists, Indigenous activists, and all who stand for climate justice are standing together today. Those who’ve gathered for this march come from different generations and places across the country. We’re united in our call for change. Liberty and Chase can’t ignore us; we’re representatives of something much larger than a single bank or insurance company,” said Phoebe Barr, organizer with Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard.
“As we face the challenges of climate change, the Boston climate finance coalition is becoming more diverse, inclusive, and frontline and youth led. We are at an inflection point in our society and will continue to call for a financial system that works for everyone,” added Nathan Phillips, Climate Finance Action board director.
This event is organized by a coalition of Indigenous, youth, and climate groups, including the Native American Indian Center of Boston, United American Indians of New England, Indigenous Environmental Network, MA Youth Climate Coalition, Boston Latin School YouthCAN, XR Youth Boston, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, Sunrise Boston, Climate Finance Action, 350 Massachusetts, Climate Courage, Massachusetts Teachers Association Climate Action Network, Our Climate, Future Coalition, Tufts Climate Action, Rainforest Action Network and more.


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