Global Action on Remittances

Community Organizations International

PICT0941 (2)New Orleans On June 16th Community Organizations International (formerly ACORN International) embarked on our first “global action” as protesting the excessive and predatory costs of remittances and demanding reform.  There was great excitement as the reports – and especially the pictures and news reports – came in first from Delhi and then Mumbai where demands were made in India on the central banking authorities.  Then we had a Twitter report from Toronto where members were inside Scotiabank in downtown Canada.  Next there were pictures of our members inside another Scotiabank in Ottawa making sure the demands were faxed immediately.

As the clock moved west, we had reports from Vancouver were 20 ACORN Canada members hit HSBC, the worldwide bank, that owns banks in Mexico and of course the far east and south Asia.  A TV station broadcast the news of the action from Vancouver in four different languages:  Punjab, Mandarin, Cantonese (spoken in Hong Kong where HSBC is printed on the money), and English.   In the same pacific time zone pictures of our members petitioning on the streets in Tijuana in front of Western Union offices and demanding reduced fees came over the internet from Suyapa Guzman, who directs the ACORN Mexico office there.  Another Twitter report came in then from Hamilton, the newest office now organizing in Ontario as part of ACORN Canada.  I woke up this morning to get a report from Suresh in Banguluru (Bangalore), India where he and his members were held all day at the Central Bank there until closing in securing proof that their demands were received and transmitted.

Reports were still expected from Lima (Peru), Santiago (Dominican Republic), Mexico City, and Buenos Aires with Nairobi slated for later in the week.  This was an exciting first step not only in launching a critical international campaign for Community Organizations International and Acorn International, but also in pulling all of the work together in recent years.  Successful, coordinated actions of hundreds of members took place in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Tijuana that were confirmed in pictures and text with hopefully more reports still expected.  These eight cities hit targets including Scotiabank, HSBC, MoneyGram, Western Union, and the Indian Central Bank. michelle talking to scotiabank june 16 2009 (2)

The next steps will be harder.  The heat now has to be increased as we measure the response – or lack of response, but the campaign is now in earnest and Community Organizations International has made its debut on the streets where our members are prepared to fight across the globe until the victory is ours.  Round one is done.  There are a lot of rounds to come.

Pictured: Michelle Walrond speaking to scotiabank