Students rally for Wells Fargo Death March
By Amber Ritchie | Kaleidoscope News | February 8, 2012
UAB students rallied together in protest against the HB56 anti-immigration law in Alabama. The Wells Fargo Death March was a mock-funeral procession organized to protest the bank’s investments into private detention centers that detain undocumented and primarily Latino immigrants until their deportation.
“Immigrants detained in these facilities are used as political and economic tools in the hands of politicians and corporations. Their dignity is stripped away from them through the cruel and inhumane manner in which they are treated,” stated Dana Al-Farhan, Mass Communications and International Studies major.
“It is our responsibility to hold Wells Fargo accountable for the deaths and human rights violations that are committed in these detention centers,” she added.
The march was held on Friday to conclude a week of action. There was close to a hundred people in attendance, dressed in all black, walking from Kelly Ingram Park to the Wells Fargo building in honor of those immigrants who died in these private prisons.
Three coffins were laid in front of the Wells Fargo entrance as members of the community, as well as students from UAB, Samford, and Birmingham-Southern, gave personal eulogies. Onlookers as well as Wells Fargo employees stopped and listened to what the people had to say.
Wells Fargo invests mutual funds in two of the largest for-profit detention centers, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group. “As of December 2010, Wells Fargo had invested $5.9 million in Corrections Corporation of America and $88.7 million in the GEO Group,” In These Times reported in July.
“Anti-immigration groups like FAIR, and private prison lobbyists with groups like ALEC influence state politicians like Scott Beason to act on prejudices and pass laws like Alabama’s HB56,” stated William Anderson, one of the event’s organizers.
“These laws arrest and detain more immigrants who are often sent to private prisons where they are used as slave labor. The private prisons profit of off leasing out their prison population, and Wells Fargo makes money because they bank-roll these centers,” he added.
“We are against HB56 because it is unjust and unreasonable. The story of why people come to this country is a lot deeper than people realize. Students have differing opinions of what should happen with the law, but I think it should be completely repealed. You cannot tweak or fix hate,” said Anderson.