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The ‘Banking while Black’ incident was highlighted when protesters brought attention to racism in the US



The 'Banking while Black' incident was highlighted when protesters brought attention to racism in the US

“I have a customer here – in fact he is not our customer. He tried to cash a check and the check was fake. It doesn’t match our records,” said a bank employee on the 911 call recording obtained by CNN.

For many African-Americans, what happened to McCowns in December 2018 is a common experience. Black’s temporary banking is another entry on the list of people who constantly call the police about African-Americans doing everyday things.

In the case of McCowns, while the bank staff was unable to contact the employer to verify the check, he followed the protocol and provided two forms of identification and fingerprints.

The police finally contacted his employer and made sure the check was valid, and let him go. The bank apologized, saying its tellers became “very alert” after a series of incidents involving fake checks. He then cashed his check in a different Huntington branch without incident.

“That’s very embarrassing,” McCowns said at the time. “The person who made the phone call – the manager, the teller – whoever called, I felt as though they were judging.”

A branch manager uses racial slurs against him

Racial profiles in financial institutions occur frequently, but most people rarely report or file lawsuits because such cases are difficult to prove, lawyers say. Others simply make deposits or cash their checks and move on.

But with increasing protests against systemic racism since the murder of George Floyd, more blacks share their banking experience. Last month, Florida lawyer and businessman Benndrick Watson filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, accusing a bank manager of using racial slur when he tried to open an account.

Watson has a personal checking account at a bank, and was in a branch near Tampa to open a business account for his law firm in April last year. When the banker searched through company records, Watson told CNN, he found that he owned a record label business and began asking questions.

“Looks like they don’t believe I have a business,” he said.

Teller brought a branch manager who began checking Watson’s information on his computer. Then the manager suddenly called him N er er.

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“My jaw really dropped – I was afraid, I said, ‘did he really say that?'” Watson said. “I sat down. He started talking. He began to frighten me. It’s hard to explain.”

The branch manager apologized, saying he had no intention and described it as “a mistake,” Watson said. He quickly gathered his belongings and rushed to his car.

“When you go to the bank, your guard comes down. You don’t expect to be called a racist word”

Benndrick Watson

“When you go to the bank, your guard comes down. You don’t expect to be called a racist word,” Watson said. “I’m a customer at this bank. I’ve been to this bank. Physically ill.”

Watson said he wanted to bring awareness to his case in the hope that it would help banks improve their relationship with small Black business owners.

Shortly after the incident, his lawyer Rodal reached the bank on behalf of his client. The regional manager wrote a letter to Watson apologizing and described the incident as unacceptable.

“Even though it seems that the offensive term was unintentional, we understand that it makes your clients uncomfortable, and for good reason,” the regional manager wrote in a letter given to CNN by Rodal. “Wells Fargo does not tolerate such language, in any situation, and we have taken corrective action against the former branch manager.”

In a statement to CNN, Wells Fargo said the branch manager resigned because the bank was preparing to fire him and was not eligible for re-employment.

“We are very sorry and deeply apologize to him for what must have been a terrible experience,” the statement said. “Wells Fargo does not tolerate discrimination in any form. We take all allegations of discrimination against our customers and employees very seriously and take action to overcome them.”

A cashier refused to deposit the check

Michigan resident Sauntore Thomas recently reached an agreement with the bank about a racial discrimination suit he filed this year after the teller refused to deposit his check.

In January, he went to the TCF Bank branch in Livonia to open a savings account and deposit a check from the settlement in the case of racial discrimination against his former employer. He has a checking account at the bank.

A bank employee asked how he got the money, and called the police to report that he was trying to deposit a fake check, the lawsuit said. Four police officers came and questioned him.

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“Something else is happening here,” said his lawyer, Deborah Gordon, at the time. “And I think there’s only one thing: Black’s temporary banking.”

Sauntore went to another bank, opened an account and deposited the check without problems. In a statement to CNN at the time, the bank apologized.

“Local police should not be involved. We condemn racism and discrimination in any form,” he said. “We are taking extra precautions that involve large deposits and requests for cash and in this case, we cannot validate checks.”

Following the suit, he had a meeting with TCF board chairman Gary Torgow.

“He felt comfortable with their guarantee that the incident that occurred was an unfavorable mistake and did not reflect the way the bank did business,” Gordon told CNN.

The law makes it difficult to seek compensation

Since the Floyd murder by a police officer in Minneapolis and demands for justice and corporate accountability, there have been increasing calls for banks to address racial profiles.

Racial discrimination has occurred in banks for years with limited legal assistance, legal experts say.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in businesses such as theaters, restaurants and hotels but the bank is not on the list, which makes it difficult for people profiled in financial institutions to win lawsuits in federal courts, according to Gordon, a civil rights lawyer.

“This action was written in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement when African-Americans faced the inability to sit at the lunch counter, stay in a motel or go to a movie,” Gordon said. “The 1964 law seeks to address only these violations which are very much in the public eye. That action needs to be changed but I doubt that it will happen.”

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Some countries have passed steps to overcome gaps. In Michigan, the Civil Rights Act passed in 1976 covers most of everything, added Gordon.

Some banks promised to make efforts to ensure a friendly environment for minorities.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in some businesses but the bank is not on the list

“As a Minneapolis-based company, we asked questions at the time about how we could help make changes to systemic injustices, socially and financially, which had contributed to what was a recurring tragedy,” said US Bank Diversity Chief Greg Cunningham.

He urged large companies and their leaders to develop meaningful relationships with Black’s businesses and actively condemn systemic racism.

Wells Fargo said it is committed to a series of changes including supporting Black’s business to ensure diversity and the company’s inclusion efforts lead to meaningful change.

“All managers will be asked to participate in a new direct and interactive program specifically designed to overcome the current challenges,” said Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf last month. “This will go beyond current training standards that are inadequate for challenges.”

The bank has promised to use the incident to train employees and ensure better service.

“The most useful and valuable approach we can take with every interaction of our customers and employees is to learn from them and continue to ensure that our policies, processes and training support fairness and equality for every customer or noncustomer who interacts with us,” he said.

TCF has launched mandatory subconscious training for employees and is conducting a review of its policies and procedures to ensure equal treatment for all customers, said spokesman Randi Berris.

But when businesses pay attention to their policies after Floyd’s assassination, some bank leaders recognize more work needs to be done to build trust with minorities.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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