• The CARI 50-ft. LED Chase Bank protest sign over Rt. 95
What motivates a group of Climate Action RI activists to stand on a highway overpass displaying a gigantic lighted sign? It’s the drive to slow the climate crisis by using the power of direct action against a corporate financial giant that doles out billions of dollars in loans to the fossil fuel industry. On Thursday, March 4 CARI’s activists hauled out 25 home-made LED light panels, each an individual letter, that spell out “CLIMATE CRIMINAL = CHASE BANK” and displayed the 50-ft long sign on the Laurens Street overpass bridge over Route I-95 South in Cranston. Up to 6000 vehicles passed that sign sending motorists the message in a visually spectacular display. The CARI volunteers atop the overpass enthusiastically waved to the cars below as many of the motorists honk their horns in acknowledgement zooming by at 60 mph. The message of the sign generates awareness of the seriousness of the climate crisis as well as creating a negative branding image of a major corporation that is a bad actor in the climate crisis.

CARI has been protesting against Chase Bank’s lending practices for a few years with numerous actions taking place at the new Chase retail banking locations throughout the state. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person actions CARI had to think of new ways to maintain pressure on Chase and continue to spread the word of their dirty financial dealings. The Stop Chase! Team found a new but tried-and-true protest tactic called Overpass Light Brigade that activists have deployed throughout the U.S. A group of handy CARI members constructed the sign in their homes using materials purchased at building centers. Displaying the LED sign at multiple locations around RI has been an effective tactic for CARI’s activists to maintain safe social distancing while still getting the message out.

Why does CARI target Chase Bank? Chase Bank is the world’s leader when it comes to financially backing an industry that produces energy created by burning greenhouse gas-emitting oil, gas and coal that is dangerously warming our planet and ruining our climate.
CARI’s Stop Chase! Team has been part of an international campaign to pressure financial institutions to stop the flow of funds that support fossil fuel extraction and production and to concentrate their backing on renewable energy resources that will be part of the clean energy economy. Targeting Chase sends a message to the industry leader as well as other companies that promote fossil fuel use through their business practices that this is unacceptable and it will ultimately harm their bottom line.

CARI welcomes new volunteers to come out and help us set up the sign. The next action is set for Wednesday, March 10 at 5:30 pm at 407 Doric Ave., Cranston. Just show up and help out, or visit our Facebook page or email [email protected] for more information.