Through a Hands Off Appalachia! visit to the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, (un)Occupy ABQ organized a virtual teach-in with HOA! workers located in Knoxville, Tennessee.
From the information shared at the Teach-in with The Raging Grannies, Stop the War Machine and Vets for Peace 063, (un)Occupy ABQ agreed to organize a letter delivery in solidarity with the people of Appalachia.
(un)Occupy Albuquerque and Students for Justice in Palestine took ACTION! and unflinchingly delivered the following letter to the UBS branch in their town:
(un)Occupy Albuquerque (UOA) demands that UBS stop funding and supporting mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). We are here because we are concerned about the health and safety of Appalachian communities.
UBS is a top funder of MTR, lending capital and providing investment services to companies involved in MTR such as Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, and James River Coal Company, which have buried over 2,000 miles of headwater streams, a vital source of drinking water, and razed more than 500 mountains in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Among the many adverse impacts to human communities, MTR has also been linked to increased rates of birth defects.
Across the Appalachian coalfields, people living near MTR mines are threatened by groundwater contamination, mudslides, flashfloods, and fly-rock that is launched through the air and into communities. Without the financial support of UBS, coal companies could not continue poisoning the people of Appalachia.
As a movement committed to the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants, we at UOA are concerned about the ways in which a naked pursuit of profit has endangered the health and wellbeing of human communities. In addition, we are deeply worried about how environmental degradation continues apace with scant regard to the damage that is being inflicted on the earth. As a movement fighting the renewed thrust for uranium mining in New Mexico, which will disproportionately affect poor communities of color, we are committed to oppose all activities that cause damage to the planet and its inhabitants. We oppose the placing of profits over our communities and call for an immediate halt to all activities that endanger the planet.
We will continue applying public pressure until UBS changes its official policy and stops funding MTR. As representatives of UBS in the Southwest US, you have the responsibility to deliver this message to the individuals who enact policies that directly harm Appalachian communities and the larger health of the planet.
We join Appalachian communities in demanding that you repair the damage you have done to these communities by investing in their future instead. Take advantage of the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency in these mountain communities. Invest in education and infrastructure in communities that are traditionally under-served. Also, create a pool for micro-loans for young entrepreneurs trying to do business in an environment bereft of economic opportunity.