Posted 4 years ago on Nov. 26, 2013, 3:47 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt (1) from Plainfield, NJ
The Reverend Billy Talen, a longtime Occupy Wall Street supporter, is now facing a year in prison simply for preaching on the environmental record of JP Morgan Chase. We ask the Occupy community to raise the alarm. Join us on Black Friday (November 29, 2013) for a musical peace protest. Let ALL our voices be heard. We will not be silenced.
Rev. Billy Talen is an actor who uses comedy, theater, and music to persuade large corporations and entities to address environmental issues. In June 2013, he and a few members of the “Church of Earthalujah” choir walked into the lobby of a JP Morgan Chase branch. Dressed in toad hats (the central American golden toad species to be precise, which has been made extinct) they told the staff that they were about to perform "expressive politics."
As the choir sang, Talen, who impersonates a Baptist preacher, delivered a short sermon about climate change and Chase's record in financing the biggest fossil fuel industrial projects in the world. Talen and choir director Nehemiah Luckett were arrested and charged with riot, trespass, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. The prosecutor has called the performance a "criminal stunt," and demanded that Talen go to prison for an entire year! The trial starts on 9 December.
Talen, who has been performed around the world for more than 20 years, said he was surprised and worried by the charges against him. "Our whole thing was 15 minutes long. And for 15 minutes [they] want to put us in jail for a year?" he said. "I've served three days in the Los Angeles prison in 2006, other than that – my 75 arrests were usually just overnight. It's surprising."
Earlier this year the choir, which often draws on Broadway actors, did a similar performance at an HSBC branch in London but no one was arrested. In 2011, the group "exorcised" BP in the main turbine hall of the Tate in London. JP Morgan Chase, which has revenues of $21bn a year and assets of $2trillion, was last week ordered to pay a record fine of $13bn after admitting it made serious misrepresentations to the public over mortgages.
On Black Friday (November 29, 2013), the Occupy Wall Street community will gather at JP Morgan’s NY Headquarters for a musical peace protest to support our friends. The original Occupy Drum Circle will be reuniting for the first time in over a year, to support this specific action, and the freedom of expression. Please join us from 8AM to 8PM, bring your instruments, your voices, or just yourselves. Thanks to you all.
Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/1432764656938153/