About 75 people — young and old, carrying signs, shouting chants and singing songs — marched Sunday afternoon from Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to the Kenwood-area home of U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis to protest the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).
Organizers from MN350 said they wanted to show their love for Davis, 58, who plans to step down as CEO in April. Organizers said Davis has publicly supported President Donald Trump and has said his policies are good for business.
They hoped to change his heart and mind about the bank’s financing of the fossil fuel industry, including a $275 million credit line to the companies building DAPL.
In front of Davis’ home, Ryan Franke and Greta Larson acted out a short, heavily modified scene from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” complete with a balcony prop. Romeo stood for Big Oil; Juliet was U.S. Bank.
“What light from yonder window breaks,” Franke read. “It is the burning oilfield, and U.S. Bank is the spark.”
Protesters sang Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” with heavily modified lyrics, at the start and finish of the march to illustrate the relationship between DAPL and the bank.
Despite continuing protests at the North Dakota site, construction crews have resumed work on the final segment of the 1,200-mile oil pipeline, and the developer said last week that the full system could be operational within three months. Digging of the final section under the Missouri River was stalled in 2016 due to opposition by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes. Both tribes argue that the pipeline threatens their water supply and cultural sites.
The Cheyenne River Sioux on Thursday asked a federal judge to stop the work while a lawsuit filed earlier by the bands proceeds.
At Sunday’s march, Ulla Nilsen, corporate accountability leader for MN350, said the protest was organized swiftly in response to Davis’ comments in support of Trump’s policies.
“We love the Earth,” Nilsen told the crowd. “Tell CEO Richard Davis that the DAPL companies represent a big threat to the things we love. We know these things are not good for business, not good for us, not good for anything. We’re here today to show our love.”
Jordann Hartzheim said she is “personally hopeful” the protests can make a difference.
“We see already there is pushback with his administration,” she said. “Protests everywhere, starting to rise from the bottom up. I think that’s really important.”
Marchers ranged from the very young to the very old. John Curran, 96, of Minneapolis, was there with his son, Matthew, 32. Cynthia Morrill was there with her sons Cutler, 5, and Asher, 8.