Calling on all to boycott Regions Bank for domestic economic sanctions placed on black community!

The following is a modified version of the press statement that was delivered at the March 31, 2023 demonstration against Regions Bank in Birmingham, Alabama, organized by the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Defense Campaign.

On March 31, 2023, the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! (HOU) Defense Campaign went to Birmingham, Alabama, a city renowned throughout the world for the heroic struggle of our people, and also the headquarters for Regions Bank.

HOU organized forces to Birmingham to demand that Regions Bank immediately stop and desist its racist attacks on the black community!

Regions’ attacks are economic sanctions against the ability of African people to create programs which serve our community’s needs and build our own economic development.

HOU was there to expose and denounce the fact that recently Regions Bank abruptly “terminated” all accounts with the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) after a 20-year financial relationship.

It was profoundly significant that this demonstration occurred in front of the racist Regions Bank which is only three blocks from the historic 16th Street Baptist Church where four of our beloved children were brutally murdered in 1963, as part of an attempt to crush the right of African people to participate in the electoral process!

Birmingham is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was imprisoned for his organizing and wrote his powerful and inspiring “Letter from the Birmingham Jail!”

It’s the city where our Comrade Mafundi Lake was locked up for organizing for black freedom and was forced to die in these colonial prisons. Standing with the HOU campaign was Mafundi’s wife, Carolyn Lake.

It is significant that the mission of APEDF for its 30 years history has been to create “programs to defend the human and civil rights of the African community, and to address the grave disparities in education, health, healthcare, and economic development faced by African people.”

As we all know, black people today are still fighting for our rights, our reparations and political and economic power over our lives. We are still fighting colonialism!

Over the years the work of APEDF has been to build black community programs in several U.S. cities including in North St. Louis, MO serving the needs and empowering the black working class and impoverished neighborhoods.

APEDF’s programs include Akwaaba Hall events spaces in St. Petersburg, FL, Oakland, CA and St. Louis, MO.

We have built the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplaces, especially serving black communities in Philadelphia, PA and North St. Louis.

We created a doula birthing training program, the Black Power Vanguards basketball court, the Gary Brooks Community Garden, Uhuru Jiko Commercial Kitchens and Bakery Cafes in St. Louis.

We also have the Black Power 96 radio station in St. Petersburg, Florida, Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles stores in Philly and Oakland.

This is the track record of APEDF whose institutions have been in existence for decades and which are all much beloved by the local communities. These programs enjoy the support of thousands of people, including many from the white community who contribute as a stand of reparations to African people.

For more than two decades, APEDF has worked with Regions Bank, holding accounts, loans and mortgages – all of which were paid on time. These accounts and loans helped APEDF to be able to work on multiple programs which rely on contributions from thousands of supporters and agencies.

Suddenly in early March, a notice came from Regions Bank announcing the cancellation of the nonprofit’s lines of credit and all our accounts, and prematurely calling in a mortgage loan demanding an immediate payment of $70,000. The mortgage was for a property under renovation for a bakery cafe and community kitchen in an impoverished black community in north St. Louis.

Accounts of some of the Uhuru Movement organizations and some individual members were also terminated abruptly and arbitrarily!

No reason was given by Regions Bank for any of these attacks!

Regions’ economic sanctions come on the heels of the violent government-initiated pre-dawn militarized FBI raids on seven Uhuru Movement properties in two states on July 29, 2022.

These raids caused over $40,000 of damage to our properties and the theft by the FBI of thousands of dollars worth of computers, phones and files as well as priceless historic archives.

These raids produced no charges, no indictments, no arrests for anyone in the Uhuru Movement, and the Uhuru Movement strongly asserts that we’ve committed no crime.

These brutal raids were justified by the colonial State with bogus allegations related to an indictment of a Russian national in Russia, which is ridiculous!

As Uhuru Movement leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela has asserted, “black people do not need a Russian – or anyone – to tell us about the conditions of colonialism that we have faced here in the U.S. for 400 years, ever since we were kidnapped from Africa and forced to labor for free–which built the wealth of this country on the stolen land of the Native People!”

The attacks by Regions Bank is work in collusion with the FBI attacks on the right of African people to escape welfare slavery and to build self-determination and Black Power in our own hands!

These attacks are a continuation of the U.S. government war on the Black Revolution of the 1960s, assaults which assassinated and imprisoned so many of our leaders such as Malcolm X as well as Dr. Martin Luther King and Mafundi Lake who organized for black freedom and power in Birmingham.

Regions thinks it can return to the days of convict leasing when our grandparents were captured, re-enslaved and worked to death–with Birmingham, AL–Regions’ headquarters – being one of the biggest economic beneficiaries of these colonial atrocities.

The bodies of our ancestors still lie in unmarked mass graves on the property of the U.S. Steel corporation in Birmingham.

It is telling that Regions Bank funds the private prison corporations and is a trustee for the state of Alabama’s bonds to build two new prisons in the state, where African people are still captured and locked up for decades.

In the Alabama prisons our people are confined in subhuman conditions to make money for the banks and corporations at our expense. In other words Regions is participating in reinitiating convict leasing!

We salute the organizations who have stood out there before us to protest Regions’ bloody hands in the mass imprisonment of our people!

We know that Regions Bank was forced to pay a fine of $191 million dollars just six months ago for years of illegal surprise, fake “overdraft” fees that it used to gouge the accounts of its working customers. It did this even though they knew it was illegal.

Regions Bank is the criminal, and Regions Bank should be sanctioned, not APEDF which is working to uplift the black community!

This is the basis for the ill-gained salary of Regions president John Turner who takes home $8.5 million dollars every year at our expense.

Regions Bank wants to try to turn back the clock and hold us down, but it cannot do that because African people are fighting a just fight and we are winning!

We are putting Regions Bank and the U.S. colonial government on notice that we represent a movement of black working people, African people here and around the world, building, organizing for democracy and creating our own power in our own hands.

We have a rising movement coming for what is ours, winning our reparations as the return of our stolen resources, with the voluntary participation of many white people and the support of others within the U.S. and around the world.

Hands Off Uhuru!
Hands Off Africa!
Boycott Regions Bank!

We are calling on you to support our struggle:

  • Join the People’s Sanctions of Regions Bank!
  • Close your Regions Bank account, withdraw your money. Crash this bank literally built on the bodies of African people!
  • Protest at your local Regions Bank branch
  • Donate to and join the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Defense Campaign at HandsOffUhuru.org

At HandsOffUhuru.org we have information, fliers, posters, banners and other information that you can use to take on this struggle against Regions Bank.

Group photo during Boycott Regions Bank demonstration in Birmingham, AL.
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