We spent two years focusing on the National Prison Divestment Campaign in which we targeted the financial giant, Wells Fargo, for its ties to the for-profit prison industry, including the infamous CCA and GEO Group. Wells Fargo invests in these corporations, lobbying for and profiting from laws and policies that force migrants, poor people, and people of color into detention centers and prison cells.

Through our participation in the divestment campaign, we hoped to undermine the financial resources of the for-profit prison industry, and to make its existence increasingly politically unviable. Targeting Wells Fargo allowed us to show in stark terms who benefits and who is harmed by our prison and immigration systems, exposing an industry in which a small group of elites profits from the misery of millions.

We were able to take on the dominant narrative that prisons and detention centers keep people safe from “criminals” and “terrorists,” showing instead that they are tools of harm, control, and profit—serving the interests of our nation’s wealthiest at the expense of poor people and people of color. The campaign also allowed us to draw connections between struggles for migrant justice and those for prison abolition, along with timely bank-related struggles, such as the fight against widespread foreclosures.

As we planned and carried out direct actions, held popular education workshops, and created and distributed media, we developed valuable skills, consciousness, and relationships that we know we will carry with us as we move forward.


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