New York - Over 10,000 people brought Main Street to Wall Street in a march, led by the AFL-CIO and National People’s Action (NPA). Working families and community members mobilized one of the largest gatherings ever organized against big banks, calling for accountability, job creation and an end to predatory lending practices from Wall Street institutions like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.
The rally began in City Hall Park where AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “People in New York and across the country, who did nothing wrong and want to work, have paid for the misdeeds of the big banks with their jobs, homes and retirement savings. Now it’s time for our government to hold Wall Street accountable and make them pay to create the good jobs they destroyed.”
"Big time economic help came to Wall Street, now big time economic recovery must come to Main Street. Working people are losing their jobs, homes, life savings, retirement, and dignity,” said Jack Ahern, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Americans are counting pennies, while bankers are counting their billions. This is just not right. Main Street needs jobs, consumer protection and trust in our financial institutions. So, it cannot be back to business as usual for Wall Street. We are here to say Americans have had enough, and we mean business. It is time for Wall Street to be held accountable. It is time to put people over profits!”
Many at the rally spoke out about their own personal struggles that resulted from the economic crisis, whom they blame completely on Wall Street financiers.
“I’m sure everybody knows someone who has lost their job. I serve a church in Brooklyn with many members who are facing job loss due to this economic crisis,” said Rev. Lisa Robinson, a member of Brooklyn Congregations United. “For myself, I stand before you today not having to deal with job loss, but fear of losing my home due to foreclosure, which is what the other half of my congregation is dealing with because of what the big banks have done to us. How long will we stand and continue to allow the bank CEOs to pocket million dollar bonuses, while we struggle with how to pay our mortgages?”
In total over 20,000 Americans marched on banks’ shareholders meetings, corporate headquarters and financial districts in San Francisco, Kansas City, Mo., Charlotte, N.C. and now New York City. In May, thousands more will descend on Washington, D.C., to bring the Showdowns to the Senate. For more information on this mobilization and a recap of past Showdowns, please go to the following website: www.showdowninamerica.org.
“It’s been two years since the bailouts began and we still have no reform of Wall Street,” said Executive Director of National People’s Action George Goehl. “Now is a time for our elected officials to act boldly to hold the big banks accountable. Today we are marching to the scene of the crime – Wall Street. Our goal is to force a which-side-are-you-on moment for U.S. Senators on the issue of Wall Street reform. Are they with the American people, or are they with the Wall Street banks? Considering the reckless greed and abuses of the big banks, and the impact it has had on all of us, the answer should be obvious.”
The mobilizations were organized by a broad coalition of organizations including National People’s Action, SEIU, the AFL-CIO and the PICO network.
Photos and videos of ALL “Showdown” events and activities are being captured and provided to the media through the following websites:
The AFL-CIO union movement represents 11.5 million members, including 3 million members in Working America, its community affiliate. We are teachers and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and engineers, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and plumbers—and more.
National People's Action (NPA) is a network of community power organizations from across the country that work to advance a national economic and racial justice agenda. NPA has over 200 organizers working to unite everyday people in cities, towns and rural communities throughout the United States. For 38 years, NPA has been a leader in the fight to hold banks accountable to the communities that they serve and profit.
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