BOSTON/Financial District - Over 1000 people joined a march against Bank of America's regional headquarters in Boston's Financial District yesterday. The event was called by the Right to the City Alliance, an urban movement for economic justice with member-organizations across the US. Several Boston-based organizations are involved in the alliance and have been hosting its national convention here his weekend, including Alternatives for Community and Environment, Boston Workers Alliance, Chinese Progressive Association and City Life/Vida Urbana.
The Right to the City Alliance said they called the march against Bank of America because they had more homes in foreclosure on than any other bank in Boston as of March 2011, with two-thirds of these in "majority minority neighborhoods." They believe this practice reveals a "pattern of pushing bad loans on people of color and the poor." They also expressed outrage that Bank of America would announce their new policy of charging customers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit cards "despite receiving $4.2 billion in tax refunds from the US government this year."
The march kicked off with a short rally at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common with speeches from the leadership of local Right to the City organizations and guests. The attendees then proceeded quickly to the downtown Hyatt hotel where they met a contingent of members of the UNITEHERE union that have been protesting the summary firings of 100 un-unionized Hyatt cleaning staff for the past two years. From there, they went on to the Bank of America via Downtown Crossing and then Washington and Milk Sts.
Upon arriving, 24 marchers blocked two entrances of Bank of America's 100 Federal St. building, and were arrested by Boston police a short while later. More speeches followed on two sides of the building.
The march concluded at Dewey Square, where some of the marchers participated in the 4th #OccupyBoston General Assembly and the start of that movement's encampment there.
The event was peaceful. There was a significant police presence and no incidents beyond the 24 arrests.
Text by Jason Pramas. Photos by Kristin Caffray (and eventually Jason Pramas ... ;> ).
This article is a news brief, and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.