"EXTINCTION SERMON" IN CHASE BANK LOBBY GETS REV AND MUSICIAN NEHEMIAH LUCKETT CHARGES OF "RIOT" AND "MENACE."
On a Thursday afternoon last month, a dozen singing activists from the Church of Stop Shopping in NYC performed in the role of extinct Golden Toads in a "wealth management bank" of JPMorgan Chase at 56th and 6th in Manhattan. The dancing, singing toads offered bank workers and customers information sheets about the impact of Chase investments on the environment.
Reverend Billy Talen and the music director of the Stop Shopping Choir, Nehemiah Luckett, were arrested minutes later on a subway platform. The two were charged with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct. The DA's office requested one year in prison for "this criminal stunt." But Atty. Wylie Stecklow, defending the two activists, insisted that the "15 minutes of performance art about the Earth's crisis" was well within "expressive political activity" protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. The lawyers went back and forth: "Art!" "Crime!" "Art!" "Crime!" "Art!"
The Church of Stop Shopping, - a activist collective of musicians and other artists uses the research from BankTrack.Org of the Netherlands and the World Development Movement based in London to show that Chase Bank is a top financier of extractive fossil projects, responsible for more CO2 emissions release than any other institution, with the possible exception of the Chinese Communist Party. The church believes that we must reach out to the workers within the fossil fuel cartel if change is to come.
Show support for the Rev and Nehemiah by signing this petition, which will be presented to the court on December 9th. The Stop Shopping Choir, with (hopefully) Reverend Billy preaching and Nehemiah at the piano - opens a series of performances Nov. 24 through Dec 22 at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in New York.
Rev & Nehemiah and Friends of the Stop Shopping Church
- NYC District Attorney's Office
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Dear District Atty. Cyrus Vance, Jr.
I believe in free speech and ask you to protect the right of peaceful and inventive protest at this time of our Earth's crisis. Reverend Billy Talen and Nehemiah Luckett and their Church of Stop Shopping are trying to educate workers inside Chase Bank, as well as customers... about the extinction of life forms caused by Chase policies. Support the right of these protesters to represent the extinct animals, including the now-vanished Golden Toad. We ask that you drop all charges against these two - the charges of "Riot" and "Menace" and "Unlawful Assembly" are fabrications and not at all supported by the evidence. Please direct your attorneys to investigate the damage to world's climate, including weather events in New York city such as Hurricane Sandy, aggravated by Chase Banks' investments in CO2 and methane emitting industries.
As Rev and Nehemiah would say: Earthalujah!
Friends of the Church of Stop Shopping started this petition with a single signature, and won with 14,138 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.