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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

BREAKING: On eve of ‘Break Up with Prison Industry’ Valentine’s Day demonstrations across the nation, Wells Fargo is first to respond to widespread outrage and massive public pressure on banking sector over family detention and the Trump administration’s

Feb. 13, 2019

- In a message to shareholders, Wells Fargo publicly declares that private prisons "represent elevated reputation or human rights risk."
- More than 100,000 signed petitions will be delivered to Wells Fargo and Chase branches across the country asking to “Show Some Love to Our Families this Valentine’s Day — Break Up with the Private Prison Industry, or We'll Break Up With You!”
- #FamiliesBelongTogether coalition urges banks to take the next step and explicitly commit to ending their relationship with private prisons.

The #FamiliesBelongTogether coalition, in partnership with Candide Group’s Real Money Moves initiative, and Presente.org is proud to announce the #ShowLove Campaign: a nationwide, grassroots effort with more than 500,000 people expressing their deep concern with Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase funding CoreCivic and GEO Group – the biggest operators of private prisons and immigrant detention centers in the U.S., with more than 100,000 having signed onto the petition to consider breaking up with their bank.

Recently, Wells Fargo has announced that it will no longer actively seek business from the private prison industry (page 42-43 of shareholder report) including the Geo Group and CoreCivic, but will maintain its current investments in the industry, for now. The bank signals willingness to consider structural change regarding its dealings with the private prison industry, and activists vow to maintain pressure until their demands on the bank are fully realized.

Over 60% of immigrant detainees are held in privately owned facilities, and private prisons receive over $1B a year in contracts with ICE – almost $5.5M a day of taxpayer money. With a clear financial incentive for these companies to detain as many people as possible, these companies destroy communities and continuously violate Wells Fargo and JPMorgan’s own human rights policies in the process, according to petition signers.

"The inhumane and cruel conditions that our immigrant families face in these for-profit detention centers have resulted in torture, abuse, and the deaths of children and other vulnerable people in the last few months,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.org. “Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and other banks should have nothing to do with tearing families apart. We expect banks heavily financing the private prison industry to align their actions with their human rights policies. It’s time for them to take the next step and explicitly commit to ending their relationships with private prisons."

As part of a nationwide Valentine’s Day #ShowLove activation, these petitions will be hand-delivered by thousands of activists to individual bank locations across the country, including branches in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Portland, Ohio, Boston, Baltimore and throughout the Bay Area. From families and children gathering at the San Francisco Wells Fargo headquarters to “playdate protests” where families bring their children to hang out at local bank branches, petitioners are demanding that the big banks show some love to the communities adversely affected by family detention — or risk losing thousands of customers who aren’t afraid to switch to new banks.

“Most Americans don’t know where their money spends the night, but when they find out that their bank is investing their money in private prisons, they may want to pursue alternatives,” said Morgan Simon, social investing expert and a Founding Partner of Candide Group. “Community banks and credit unions can serve as great alternatives for people excited to have their money support renewable energy, low-income housing, women and people of color-owned businesses, and other investments that they can really be proud of.”

“Corporations cannot be allowed to profit off the suffering of children and families, torn apart by President Trump’s cruel immigration agenda,” said Sandra Cordero, director of Families Belong Together. “Americans won’t stand by while corporations, and the politicians hungry for their donations, help the Trump Administration to rip babies from their mothers’ arms, mass-incarcerate children and parents, and traumatize thousands of families. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are making money off this crisis by bankrolling private prisons, as they cash in on Trump's agenda. We have to hold big banks accountable for enabling human rights abuses."

Full text of petition can be found here. And details for the main Valentine’s Day events in NYC can be found here and for San Francisco here.

About #FamiliesBelongTogether Corporate Accountability Committee:

The #FamilesBelongTogether coalition, made up of more than 80 organizations, call on Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase to immediately stop their financial support for GEO Group and CoreCivic, private prisons that are profiting from mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigration.

About Real Money Moves:

Real Money Moves is a recently launched social investing initiative inviting people to align their money with their values, including cast members of “Orange is the New Black” and NFL players. With the support of 30+ athletes, actors, artists, and everyday activists — including a select group who have committed over $10M to investing in communities — Real Money Moves is raising awareness about the outsized impact money and investments have on the issues facing our society.

Partnering Organizations:

Candide Group
CREDO
Daily Kos
Freedom to Thrive
Global Exchange
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
In the Public Interest
Jobs With Justice
Make The Road New York
National Immigration Law Center
Native Organizers Alliance
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Presente.org
Rainforest Action Network

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With more than 500,000 member-activists, Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture.