On Wednesday, April 25th, the youth and students of America are taking action and sending a message to big banks and Wall Street: they need to stop destroying our climate and bankrupting our future. It is a nationwide day of action against both crippling student loan debt and Bank of America, the number one financier of the coal industry AND the number one fore closer on American homes. April 25th is symbolic because it’s Earth Week and it’s the day that student loan debt officially hits the 1 TRILLION dollars mark.
That’s right, my friends, today’s college graduates, 50 percent of whom are jobless or underemployed, have a total debt load of 1 TRILLION dollars. Now, I’m admittedly biased in the opinion that I’m a recent college graduate who has struggled to find employment and make ends meet, but I feel that this is utterly unacceptable. When did education stop being a fundamental right and become something that burdened you with debt until you’re ready to retire? When did it become okay for banks to profit handsomely off students who had no other options?
If you think Bank of America and Wall Street are any kinder to home owners or the environment, think again. Bank of America is the number one financier of the coal industry in America, an industry that is extremely destructive. From putting the health of its workers at risk (coal miners like my grandfather were not known for having long lives) to endangering the health of all citizens (coal powered power plants significantly damage air quality and increase asthma rates) to removing entire mountaintops in places like West Virginia, the coal industry is no friend to people or the planet. And Bank of America feels that this is an American industry worth investing their members money in. If that wasn’t enough to make you dislike Bank of America, guess what? They’re also the number one fore closer on American homes. Bank of America is not only damaging public health and air quality they’re also kicking American citizens out of their homes. Fantastic.
Now, what are private citizens to do about all of this? Well, the 1T Day of Action in coordination with Occupy Student Debt are organizing parties across the country and engaging in direct action to raise awareness about the student debt crisis. Meanwhile, Energy Action Coalition along with the Rainforest Action Network and other allies will be taking action to Move Your Money away from Bank of America and into local credit unions. There will also be actions at Bank of America branches across the country and at Bank of American’s May 9th shareholder meeting.
What’s clear in all of this is that the youth of the nation are sick of Bank of America and Wall Street putting corporate greed before human needs and that we are not okay with this. S o we will be taking our business elsewhere and our money’s coming with us. And President Obama, if you want the youth vote in November, you’d better be listening. Because this generation has found its voice and will not be ignored.