IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Contact: Molly Gott, firstname.lastname@example.org, Arielle Klagsbrun, email@example.com
Activists Unfurl Banner Over ‘Peabody + United Way’ Billboard
Banner Saying ‘Dirty Coal = Dirty Money’ Kicks Off “Post-Peabody St. Louis” Week of Action
Activists from Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) unfurled a banner reading “Dirty Coal = Dirty Money” over a Peabody Coal and United Way billboard between the Vandeventer and Kingshighway exits of I-64/40. The original billboard read “Helping people. Peabody + the United Way,” advertising the highly-publicized recent partnership between Peabody Coal and the United Way. Peabody CEO Greg Boyce is chairing the United Way’s Annual Giving Campaign.
The banner drop marks the beginning of the “Post-Peabody St. Louis” week of action, during which activists and community members will target institutions around the city that enable Peabody Coal to continue their business of causing global warming, contributing to St. Louis’ high asthma rates, stealing tax dollars from St. Louis public schools, and withholding miners’ pensions.
“Peabody’s connection to the United Way may be the most egregious of its attempts to stamp its brand name on our city. Peabody, through the United Way, funds groups that work hard to treat asthma and cancer and provide air conditioning when we’re in heat waves. That is a deliberate tactic to cover up the health impacts and global warming that Peabody causes,” said Dan Cohn, member of MORE and Washington University student.
In May, community members met with Gary Dollar, head of the United Way, to express their concern with the decision to choose Boyce as the head of the campaign and demand that a new head be chosen to replace Boyce. Although Dollar said he would relay the group’s message to the United Way Board of Trustees, he also said it was highly unlikely that Boyce would be replaced. Indeed, Boyce remained the campaign chair.
The group demands that Mr. Dollar publicly condemn Peabody Coal, recognizing that a charitable organization dedicated to “helping people” has no business helping Peabody cover up its dirty work