OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) - Protesters urging customers to close their accounts with Wells Fargo and Chase gathered today outside several bank branches around the Bay Area.
Parents and their children participated in the "Move Your Money Playdate" actions, according to a news release.
Organizers say Wells Fargo and Chase are leading financiers of two large for-profit prison corporations, CoreCivic and GEO Group, which operated immigration detention centers.
The banks also continue to finance fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline and proposed arctic drilling projects that are dangerous to the environment, according to organizers.
More than 70 groups in the Families Belong Together Coalition around the country took part in similar actions today.
"This is an easy choice," said Samantha Liapes of Oakland, an organizer and mother of two who protested at the Oakland 40th Street Branch of Wells Fargo.
Liapes said she talked to about 70 people who were either customers or walking by the bank branch. She said that one customer, a mother with a teenager, went into the branch and closed down her account after talking to the protesters.
"JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo can choose to be on the right side of history and stop financing inhumane family detention and dangerous oil pipelines or they can do nothing and go down in history as the evil corporations that ignored their customers protests and continued to make money off of caging kids and destroying our planet," Liapes said.
The protests were planned at an estimated 20 locations around the Bay, in Alameda, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco.
Representatives from Chase did not respond to requests for comment.
A Wells Fargo spokesman responded, saying that the bank didn't take a position on public policy.
"Wells Fargo respects the seriousness of our country's ongoing debate about the criminal justice system," said Ruben Pulido, spokesman for Wells Fargo. "However, we do not as a corporation take positions on public policy issues that do not directly affect our company's ability to serve customers and support team members.
"Federal and state governments have for the past 30 years been contracting out detention services. People who want to change that should address their concerns with the appropriate government officials," Pulido said.
Pulido added that Wells Fargo supports "responsible development" of all forms of energy and since 2012 has invested more than $83 billion in environmentally sustainable businesses.