Occupy C-U Movement Moves Focus to Bank Accounts
(Reported by Azra Halilović)
One of the latest efforts of the Occupy Movement is to not only protest Wall Street banks, but to encourage others to close out their accounts with them.
"Move Your Money" or "Bank Transfer Day", took place in some cities in early November, but those with Occupy Champaign-Urbana started up the campaign in West Side Park on Saturday.
Despite cold temperatures, about 50 demonstrators met to protest banks they say are 'too big to fail.' They passed out harmonicas and performed a call and response as they launched the new "Move Your Money" campaign.
Groups ranging from local unions to family businesses spoke out against Wall Street banks, urging people to close their bank accounts. Demonstrators waved signs, handing out fliers outlining the campaign's mission to promote local industry by boycotting relationships with federal banks. University of Illinois student Scott Kimball spoke on behalf of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He'd like to see the government help veterans adjust to life back home.
"Veterans have an unemployment rate that's about double the national average," Kimball said. "For African-American women veterans, their unemployment rate is over 30 percent, and that's unacceptable. We have veterans that are jobless, that are homeless, that their houses are being foreclosed on. Our nation's veterans aren't getting the treatment they deserve."
Kimball says he's also excited about a change in consciousness within the group, as the Occupy movement welcomes other demographics.
"People of color have a different set of circumstances, there are veterans who have a different set of circumstances, people in the LGBTQ community have issues that they need to voice," he said. "The bigger the tent that we create, the more marginalized voices that we lift up, the better this movement becomes - the more powerful it becomes and then we can really, truly make the claim that we are the 99 percent."
The group made its way to Chase Bank, where one of the demonstrators closed her account - with plans of moving her money to a local credit union. Organizers plan to hold a similar demonstration on Monday, asking protesters to hold signs at some the area's busiest intersections.
(Photo by Azra Halilović)