Stamford 14 Speaking Tour

Stamford 14 Speaking Tour

The Stamford 14 are coming to a city near you!

Can you help us get there? Donate online today!: http://bit.ly/donateHOA.

2/1: Washington, DC (Petworth). DC Birthday Bash and HOA Benefit with the walking sticks!

2/2: Worcester, MA. Benefit show 7pm / the firehouse / $3-$5 no one turned away. Music includes sweet meloncholy folky songs,  diy doomy folk, new projects, and more!

2/3: Washington, DC (Peace House) 7:30pm. 1233 12th St NW. Learn more about HOA, our actions in Connecticut, and goals moving forward. We’ll also be sharing general information about the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, the DMV connection to coal exports, and how you can plug into this work.

2/4: Swarthmore, PA. Swarthmore College
2/5: Waltham, MA. Brandeis University
2/7: New Haven, CT. Party and bands at 8pm! Contact HandsOffAppalachia@gmail.com for the address!
2/8: Bedford, NY: 4:00pm/Bedford Presbyterian Church/44 Village Green, Bedford, NY/Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served.
2/9: Frederick, MD. Details TBA!
2/15: Philadelphia, PA 7pm/1325 N. Randolph St.
Can’t make it but want to help us get there?
Donate online at: http://bit.ly/donateHOA

Let’s Take It Downtown: Challenging energy extraction companies at their headquarters

The following statement from Hands Off Appalachia activist Dan Cohn was written last week on January 8th, 2014, the day of his court date.

On November 25th, 2013, I was arrested for hanging a large banner off a construction crane in downtown Stamford, CT. Today, I’m back in Stamford going to court, where I am facing a felony charge.

I went to jail in November to expose UBS, the Swiss investment bank and wealth management firm headquartered in Stamford, as one of the most prolific financiers of coal companies that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) strip mining in Central Appalachia. We were there to make sure UBS can no longer hide from the desolation and desecration entailed by their financial backing of coal companies.

Where I live in St. Louis, MO, energy extraction is an abstraction for most folks. Yet, our city is home to five major coal companies and a huge regional gas utility that adores fracking for shale gas. For those of us like myself who don’t live in the shadow of energy extraction, we must confront extraction companies on our home turf if we are to stand in solidarity with the folks fighting them in their backyards, as well as those on the frontlines of climate impacts.

We can go after their corporate headquarters in at least two ways. The first is to drag these companies’ names through the mud. Most of them make a habit of sprinkling philanthropic breadcrumbs here and there in an attempt to show that they are “good” corporate “citizens.” Executives and upper management actually spend time deciding how to build this positive public perception of their company to minimize the risk to their reputation with investors and financial analysts, not to mention the general public. We can directly hamper that effort by exposing them as the socially indifferent, fundamentally ecocidal, shareholder value-driven machines they really are. It’s no coincidence that I was arrested the day after Stamford’s annual Thanksgiving-time parade of giant balloons and family fun, the UBS Parade Spectacular.

We can also cut off the spigot of public money subsidizing the operation of company headquarters. When large corporations threaten to relocate their office space and workers, city politicians nearly always swoop in to offer municipal tax breaks that swipe money from our public services. In St. Louis, coal mining giant Peabody Energy received a $61 million tax package in 2010 for furniture and office renovations as enticement to remain in the city, taking much needed dollars from the budget of our embattled city schools. This is for a corporation that brought in more than $8 billion in 2012, and whose business is responsible for digging up nearly 1% of all carbon emitted since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. We’re moving to amend our City’s governing Charter to make this form of “economic development” (i.e., extortion, corporate welfare, etc.) illegal.

Every morning, we need to remember that people are waking up to go to jobs in St. Louis, Stamford, and dozens of other cities where they make decisions to continue energy extraction, either by putting shovels in the ground, or, in the case of UBS and other big banks (PNC, Bank of America, Citi, Chase, etc.), helping pay for the shovels. These people pad their own pockets by sacrificing the health of human communities and the integrity of ecosystems, and we cannot continue to let them hide from their crimes behind the glass and steel of their corporate headquarters. As Utah Phillips famously put it, “[t]he earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.”

If you want to help us continue to bring the fight against MTR to UBS, please consider throwing a few bucks our way at http://bit.ly/Ltg4zF.

Support our campaign and share Dan’s story on Facebook.

Stamford 14 Head to Court for Standing Up to UBS

Today, fourteen activists from Hands Off Appalachia head to court in Stamford, CT in connection to protests at the UBS North American Headquarters last November. After a week-long training camp in Voluntown, CT where organizers in the northeast trained in nonviolent direct action, fourteen brave individuals took a stand against UBS at the home of their US headquarters and demanded that UBS stop funding mountaintop removal.

All fourteen are in court because they stood in solidarity with the people and mountains of Appalachia. Support these activists by donating to our legal defense fund and sharing our stories far and wide!

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A statement from Hands Off Appalachia organizer Ricki Draper

Walking into court today with thirteen of my friends is equally as empowering as it is painful.

Over the last two years, I have visited UBS’s offices over 30 times pleading with them to stop the destruction of Appalachian communities. On November 25th, I stopped asking and started demanding an end to UBS’s financing of mountaintop removal. I entered the UBS National Headquarters and dropped a banner from their front entrance and refused to leave.

Today, court is an incredibly hard place to be. I arrive at 10am, and watch person after person stand in front of the judge. I witness the criminalization of poverty. People are sentenced to jail time, fines are levied, and families are separated.

Honestly, I am scared of judges and police and jails. I am scared of having a criminal record and how worried my mom is when I call her from jail.

Even though the legal system scares me, I promise you that I will never stop fighting. As UBS profits and poisons communities, as poor people are imprisoned and people of color are marginalized, as the pipeline is built and parents are deported, we will fight back. As long as injustice is legal and those in power are criminals, I will fight back.

While our criminal justice system is insidious and our enemies strong, I believe that we are going to win.

Donate here: http://bit.ly/Ltg4zF

Share Ricki’s statement on Facebook!

Support the Stamford 12!

Happy holidays from the UBS: Hands Off Appalachia Campaign! 2013 has been a huge year for us, and we appreciate yall’s support so much.

Last month, 12 activists with Hands Off Appalachia descended on UBS’s North American Headquarters in Stamford, CT to demand an end to UBS’s funding of mountaintop removal coal mining. There were sit-ins, banner drops, and lock downs with incredible press coverage, including 4 pieces of international press!

The Stamford 12 will return to Connecticut on January 8 for their first court date. The week before, Hands Off Appalachia will lead a speaking tour in the Northeast, but we need financial support to make it happen!

Donate today to the Stamford 12 Legal Defense Fund at http://bit.ly/Ltg4zF.

HOA Got Arrested

12 arrested in Stamford actions against UBS

On Monday, November 25th, 12 people were arrested for peaceful demonstrations against UBS. As of Tuesday evening, 8 are still in jail. Their court date isn’t until January 8th! Can you help us get them out? You can donate to their legal fund here!

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If you can’t spare any cash, we would love your help spreading their story. Please check out these posts on our Facebook page, or share this blog post with friends.

The 8 folks still in jail are being transferred to new facilities this evening; we will provide addresses for sending them support mail when they are booked.

UPDATE: Below are the addresses of some folks in jail who would love to hear from you!

Kyle Gibson, Inmate #400481 / Bridgeport Correctional Facility / 1106 North Avenue / Bridgeport, CT / 06604

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