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A Farewell Letter to HSBC - Bankrolling Human Rights Violations at Standing Rock is Unacceptable

Dear Group Chief Stuart Gullive and fellow HSBC Executives,
As a longtime customer of HSBC, I am appalled that your bank is providing $189 million in revolving credit to Energy Transfer Equity and its subsidiary, Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Not only has the construction of DAPL desecrated burial grounds and related sacred sites on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, it also endangers the drinking water for 18 million people living downstream on the Missouri River. 
While these actions alone are enough to give me pause about doing business with HSBC, the civil liberty violations that Energy Transfer Partners have made are among the issues I find most disturbing.
Private DAPL security and militarized police have used excessive force including unleashing dogs, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas to attack Native American tribe members and their allies who have united in prayer and peaceful direct actions to halt construction of this unjust, hazardous pipeline. These attacks on water protectors in North Dakota have continued to escalate to the point of severely injuring Indigenous and non-Native women.
In the film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock, Cody Hall, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe asks "what is your spirit telling you to do?" Mine leads me to take action on a number of fronts including severing ties with any bank that prioritizes investments in oil pipelines such as DAPL over the safety of people. Today I'm writing this to inform you that I'm closing my account with HSBC and moving my money to a financial institution that is not bankrolling brutality against people, particularly Native Americans, who are exercising their rights to protect the earth and its natural, finite resources. 
Until your bank pulls out of its deal with Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, terminate its contract with them and halt all further funds from being dispersed to these companies, I will encourage other HSBC customers to withdraw their money and close their accounts as well. You and fellow decision makers have an opportunity to demonstrate that you all have a soul. If like me, you believe crimes against humanity is unacceptable, the time for HSBC to rise as the world's ethical bank is now.

Announcing the Mni Wiconi Blogathon - #DeFundDAPL

UPDATE: Mni Wiconi Blogathon is Extended until JANUARY 7th!On a number of occasions I've written about the ways movies help us further understand the role we play as a society when addressing complex topics including water pollution, climate change, poverty, clean water, human rights and the power of people working together to make a positive difference.

In response to one of these writings, Michele Truhlik hailed the importance of documentary filmmakers because they "bring light to subjects and incidents that would otherwise go unnoticed." Lucian Read, whose 8-minute short film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock highlights the struggle for clean water and Native sovereignty, is one such documentarian.

After watching Read's film, it bothers me that many of the same banks that brought us the 2008 financial crash are destroying the earth and bankrolling genocide and it seems like no one is talking about it. 

Together with Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project, we invite YOU to stop the censorship and corporate media whiteout of the #NoDAPL movement, by participating in the Mni Wiconi Blogathon.


How To Participate:

1. Write an open letter to a bank of your choosing, in response to the film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock and publish it on your blog between Dec. 27 - Jan. 7. (e.g. Dear Wells Fargo, Why Are You Funding Water Contamination? or Dear Chase Bank, You Can't Drink Oil)

  • You can watch the film at the bottom of this blog post.
  • A $1.4 billion loan is on hold while the Army Corps permit for drilling under the Missouri River is suspended. This means there's still time for the banks involved in this loan to cut their line of credit.
  • Only submit NEW posts. Previously published posts will not be eligible for the Giveaway (see details below). If you do not have a blog, consider doing a guest post for another blogger or posting your entry on Medium.

2. Add the blogathon badge to your post

3. Send us your post by filling out the form below:

One entry per person, not per blog.

Must be received by Monday January 2 Saturday January 7, 2017 12:59pm EST

4. Promote your post on social media using the hashtags #WaterisLife #Blogathon #DefundDAPL #BankExit


I will post a list roundup of the participating blogs here, as they are received and compiled, throughout the week and share the lists on social media.


*courtesy of @MadlabPost & Do1Thing

On Tuesday January 3rd Monday January 9th, I'll randomly select five participants who will receive a 2017 Do1Thing wall calendar and an emergency swag bag filled with a water bottle, first aid kit, KIND granola, flashlights and related goodies. The first gift recipient who responds to my notification will also receive a Star Wars themed surprise.

Let's demand the banks to #DefundDAPL because Water is Life!

December is a global month of action in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as indigenous led communities unite to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also known as the Bakken Pipeline from crossing the Missouri River. So today I'm closing my account with HSBC -- one of the 38 banks funding (and profiting off) a project that violates sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and threatens the air and water supply for millions of people.


Congratulations to 'Bon Voyage' Director Marc Wilkins on Making the Oscars Shortlist!

Drifting through an ocean of dead bodies, two holiday sailors find themselves on a rescue mission that puts their fears and ideals in a dramatic conflict with the hopes and dreams of Syrian refugees. That is the synopsis for Bon Voyage, a Swiss film currently in the running for an Oscar nomination. Directed by Marc Wilkins, the Mediterranean sea drama made it out of the 137 films that qualified as possible contenders in the BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT category.

Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Bon Voyage is among the 10 films that will advance in the voting process for the 89th Academy Awards, Wilkins has been hard at work making sure his film is introduced to members of the Academy who haven't seen it. Members of the Academy will select five nominees from among the 10 shortlisted titles; the final nominess for the 89th Oscars® will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

As Bon Voyage heads to Australia where it will screen in January at FLICKERFEST, I'd like to take a moment to say bravo to Marc Wilkins! Your short features some of the best cinematography I've seen this year. Here's hoping you get that nomination!

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