To: Dylan Ashley
Utah Pride Festival: DITCH WELLS FARGO & CHASE BANK
We call upon the Utah Pride Center to remove Wells Fargo and Chase Bank from the 2018 and all future pride parades. We also call for a public meeting regarding the structure and appointment process for their Board of Directors.
Why is this important?
To Utah Pride Center Leadership and whom it may concern:
Due to conversations with leadership being ignored and a lack of community representation on your board, we of the community have been forced into the uncomfortable position of writing this letter. While we understand the fundraising achieved during the Pride season is by and large the biggest source of funding for the services provided by the Pride Center, we cannot deny that some of our sponsors have a history of discrimination against the most at-risk in our communities.
Specifically, we formally request that the Utah Pride Center immediately divest from Chase Bank and Wells Fargo as well as retract their parade entries for the 2018 Pride Season and the indefinite future. Both of these banks have a history of exploiting communities of color 1,2, propping up companies that monetize the destruction of our environment 3,4, defy and reject indigenous sovereignty 5,6, and exploit the poor and undocumented. Salt Lake City has already announced its plans to encourage ethical banking practices and divest from all companies with fossil fuel ties 7,8. We feel a remarkable sense of disappointment and outrage that the Utah Pride Center would not stand in solidarity with our city and would knowingly take money from these sources.
It is important to acknowledge that the majority of this letter’s authors are white. While we do not wish to speak for those who have lost faith in the Utah Pride Center’s ability to serve Utah’s larger multifaceted queer community, we express concern in the rising trend amongst queer minorities--our indigenous, undocumented, Black, and disabled communities--who feel both alienated and neglected by our services. Nonetheless we call on the Utah Pride Center to recognize that when any form of oppression is aimed at a minority community, the queer people within that community will always be marginalized to an even greater degree. We call upon you to recognize that queer liberation can only be achieved when we move to stand in solidarity with all oppressed communities. We must not put a price tag on our integrity and we must not convince ourselves it is noble to trade the dignity of our queer family for minimal donations.
Furthermore we demand the Utah Pride Center re-examine its Board of Directors, it’s personal lack of diversity on that board, and the practices used to appoint their board immediately. A history of trading board positions for donations coupled with closed-door practices serves to maintain a disturbing culture of white supremacy, colonialism, classism, and ableism within the center. Until there is a substantive change to board functioning, problems such as these will continue to exist and thrive. We call upon the Utah Pride Center to hold a public town hall meeting to discuss current board practices and genuine plans to restructure these systems for appointing board members, disseminating information about board discussions and decisions, and to return the power of the Utah Pride Center to its community.
We look forward to hearing of your divestment before the end of the week, and we have private citizens and leaders within several organizations in the community who are willing to meet and discuss this letter and the points therein in greater detail and length. We hope you will be as open to our message as you have been to your donors.
Egan, Matt. “Wells Fargo fails test over 'discriminatory and illegal' practices.” CNN Money 28 Mar 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/28/investing/wells-fargo-fails-community-test/index.html
White, Gillian B. “J.P. Morgan Chase's $55 Million Discrimination Settlement.” The Atlantic 18 Jan 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/jpmorgan-lawsuit-discrimination/513494/
Kaufman, Alexander C. “JPMorgan Facing A New Environmental Fight Over Tar Sands Funding.” The Huffington Post 26 Sep 2017. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jpmorgan-tar-sands_us_59ca6944e4b01cc57ff5a982
McGuigan, Connor. “ Campaign to Divest from Wells Fargo Gains Traction.” Sierra Club 03 May 2018. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2018-3-may-june/bulletin/campaign-divest-wells-fargo-gains-traction
Russell, Steve. “Wells Fargo Preyed on Natives, Elderly and College Students.” Indian Country Today 25 Oct 2016. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/wells-fargo-preyed-on-natives-elderly-and-college-students/
Sutherlin, Laurel. “Chase AGM: Dozens of Indigenous and Frontline Community Representatives Call for an End to Bank Financing of Extreme Fossil Fuels.” Rainforest Action Network 15 May 2018. https://www.ran.org/chase_agm_dozens_of_indigenous_and_frontline_community_representatives_call_for_an_end_to_bank_financing_of_extreme_fossil_fuels
Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office. “Mayor Biskupski a leader in U.S. mayors’ new national drive for 100 percent clean energy.” http://www.slcgov.com/mayor-biskupski-leader-us-mayors’-new-national-drive-100-percent-clean-energy
Pleune, Ryan. “Salt Lake City Pledges to Divest from Chase Bank and Fossil Fuels.” Last Real Indians 18 Apr 2017. https://lastrealindians.com/salt-lake-city-pledges-to-divest-from-chase-bank-and-fossil-fuels/