On the 8th of September, Earth Quaker Action team showed up at the Dupont Circle branch of PNC Bank, intending to enter the bank and perfrom a “4th grade math” themed skit against PNC’s investments in mountaintop removal coal mining. Upon arrival the bank branch was found closed, with customers being turned away at the door. The branch appeared to have been closed long enough before protesters arrived that all but a few of those who got in before the closure had finished their business and left. The few remaining customers were escorted out by security when the finished, but no new customers were allowed to enter.
Usually for a team intended to protest inside a building to find it locked is a defeat, but not when the target is a place that has to be open to the public to function, such as a store or a bank branch. In these cases, any protest that forces a business with objectionable practices to shut down is comparable to a lockdown across all of its doors for sheer effectiveness. The skit was held outside, and some of the bank employees watched it through the windows
One of the particpants in the protest was a former 4th grade teacher from southwestern Virginia, a place hit hard by MTR mining. She played the role of a teacher in the skit about how PNC’s investments and governmental inaction add up to mountaintop removal coal mining, poisoned water, and rising cancer rates.
There is a special history of why the Quakers would be offended that PNC Bank is funding mountaintop removal: Quakers had a prominant role in founding PNC Bank, now PNC Bank is using assets descended from this beginning to destroy the environment and poison people who are not cared about by those with more money.
The evening after the event (Sep 8) at 7PM, a “Moonshine mixer” is scheduled at the Stewart R. Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave. NE, under the theme that “it takes good water to make good moonshine!” The production of moonshine is a well known and sometimes parodied tradition in Appalachia going back to the 1700’s when farmers found that alcohol production was one of the few ways to distill the weight and volume of a crop of grain down to a load that could reach port cities at a price that would make them a profit. This was prior to the US government’s existance and was the direct cause of the “Whiskey Rebellion,” when US troops were sent under George Washington (Known to the Iroquis Confederacy as “Town Destroyer” or “Town Burner”) to suppress an insurgency that resulted from heavy taxation. These farmers had been expected to pay off the costs of the colonist’s war of independance, the first but hardly the last time those who run the US have made Appalachia a “Sacrifice zone” to serve their needs. The big coal barons wern’t that far behind George Washington’s troops, arriving a few decades later.