PhARE is working with parents, faculty, students, and community members as part of the Gompers Elementary Save Our School Movement to keep Gompers Elementary School open.
Help keep Gompers Elementary School open and safe. Sign the petition.
Wells Fargo is one of the largest funders of private prisons. So on December 13th, we built a 5-foot tall prison cell called “Wells Fargo Winter Wonderland”. With a member imprisoned inside and a policeman soliciting donations, we handed out informational flyers and engaged passersby to raise awareness and condemn the bank for taking money out of schools and putting it into prisons.
PhARE is part of a national campaign to end private prisons and immigrant detention centers.
Learn more at www.prisondivestment.wordpress.com
PhARE organizer and high school student Koby Leff gives an inspiring speech at our rally against school closings on December 15th, 2012.
Last week, the Philadelphia DA’s Office published a legally inaccurate press release regarding the guilty verdict of the Occupy Philly Wells Fargo Trial. Some Occupy Philly people, reveling in the irony, have countered the DA’s press release.
June 22, 2012, Commonwealth v. “Occupy Wells Fargo” defendants were not found guilty of Disorderly Conduct charges last week, as claimed by a press release from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. On the contrary, the defendants were not even charged with Disorderly Conduct. If District Attorney Seth Williams refused campaign contributions from banks and bankers and spent less resources prosecuting a group of teachers, union organizers, and housing counselors for peacefully protesting real criminals, the press release might have noted that, in fact, the defendants were charged with Defiant Trespass and Conspiracy. The error is all the more egregious given that, although the 12 defendants disagree with the court’s guilty verdict and have already filed appeals, their conduct inside of Wells Fargo on November 18, 2011 and inside the courtroom last week was indeed quite orderly!
Specifically, on that day in November, the large group of protesters staged a rather well-executed citizen’s foreclosure of the Wells Fargo branch at 17th and Market for the bank’s failure to pay its debts to the city of Philadelphia. The events were even captured, in order, on a much-acclaimed YouTube video. Inside the bank and again inside the courtroom on Wednesday, each of the 12 defendants testified to the crimes of Wells Fargo in what thousands of people across the country and a packed courtroom have found to be a just and orderly fashion: Wells Fargo removes people from their homes based on fraudulent and illegal accounting and servicing practices, Wells Fargo engages in systematically racist predatory lending, and Wells Fargo took millions of dollars from the Philadelphia School District for interest-rate swap deals gone bad due to a recession caused in part by the fraud of banks such as Wells Fargo.
The press release from the District Attorney’s office reveals far more about the honorable offices of Philadelphia criminal justice than the teachers, students, social workers, and community organizers composing Occupy Philly’s Wells Fargo 14. Occupy Philly will release more details when they become available as Wells Fargo prepares to face trial by a jury of its peers.
Dear Friends and Allies,
We would like to deliver a heartfelt thanks to all who stood with us in taking Wells Fargo to trial for the bank’s crimes in Philadelphia and across the country. Many of you came to our trial on June 13, others have fought valiantly against the privatization of Philly’s schools, even more have provided us emotional support as we’ve worked to hold Wells Fargo accountable.
On Wednesday, June 13, more than 150 community members wearing matching red and yellow “FORECLOSE BIG BANKS” t-shirts packed the courthouse during our trial. We felt the love and support of the community in the room, and you all showed the bank executives what Philadelphians think of their corrupt swap deals and racist predatory lending practices.
Despite the incredible show of solidarity, Judge Neifield found all the protestors guilty and fined us almost $12,000 (fines plus fees). How much has Wells Fargo paid out in fines for robbing from Philadelphia schools? How much has Wells Fargo paid for tanking the American economy? How much has Wells Fargo paid for engaging in racist predatory lending?
The fight’s not over. All 12 defendants appealed the decision and will be headed to a jury trial in a few months. We’re excited for round two. As we move forward, we’ll have to continue to work together to hold Wells Fargo and other big banks accountable to the people.
Thank you again for all of your work and support.