Carmen is a 23 year-old fighting to keep her family's home. Yesterday she was electrocuted by a taser at the Department of Justice while peacefully protesting with Occupy Our Homes and the Home Defenders League for her rights as a homeowner.
Occupiers, allies and community members from across the country came together in front of the DOJ to demand that Attorney General Eric Holder arrest the bankers responsible for upending the international economy through the housing crisis.
On Tuesday morning, homeowners facing foreclosure and housing rights activists from across the country -- including the Home Defender's League and Occupy Our Homes (an off-shoot of Occupy Wall Street) -- rallied outside the U.S. Department of Justice to demand Attorney General Holder hold the Wall Street Banks that ravaged America’s economy accountable. Dozens of struggling homeowners are prepared to risk arrest in non-violent civil disobedience or set up an ongoing occupation outside the Department of Justice until demands for Wall Street accountability and relief for their communities are addressed.
The action at the DOJ began on Monday, and although they were supported by over 500 allies, the DOJ decided they would rather jail these everyday Americans than step up to help resolve the ongoing foreclosure crisis. Some of those arrested were even tasered -- 17 arrests in all, with two being tasered by police.
According to D.C. police, 17 people were arrested. Ann C. Wilcox, an attorney who represents protesters, said several were tased during the scuffle. A D.C. police spokeswoman said D.C. police were not involved in the tasing. Federal law enforcement officials on the scene declined comment.
Police also closed Constitution Avenue for much of the afternoon, leading to traffic backups downtown.
As of 4:45 pm, about 50 protesters were standing in the street or sitting on the sidewalk, and police were preparing for more arrests. Officers equipped with crowd dispersal agents guarded the entrance to the Justice Department. A police helicopter circled overhead.
After a public pressure campaign through the Eviction Free Zone of Occupy Homes MN, Gayle Lindsey, a nursing assistant and grandmother in South Minneapolis, who was facing imminent eviction, has won a modification of her mortgage from M&T Bank. Her victory marks the seventh for Occupy Homes MN and the first in the Eviction Free Zone, a project that brings neighbors in the Central and Powderhorn neighborhoods together to refuse to leave their homes without a fair negotiation.
Lindsey, whose renegotiation came a month after her redemption period ended, is the first victory in “the Zone.” With the help of Occupy Homes MN, she organized a series of actions, community potlucks, and press appearances. Lindsey received a call, while sitting at her kitchen table, from an executive at M&T Bank. The bank offered to write her a new and affordable mortgage.
“It shows that Occupy Homes MN works,” she says. “I want to move on to more victories for the community.”
On Thursday December 6th 2012, communities around the country are turning the spotlight on the crisis that continues to hold our neighborhoods and our economy hostage as part of the Occupy Our Homes movement’s national day of action to Reclaim Our Homes and Reclaim Our Future.
Tomorrow, Occupy activists and housing justice allies are taking action to mark the first anniversary of this movement to defend our homes, hold Wall Street accountable, and affirm the human right to housing.
Actions will be taking place in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Richmond CA, Lake Worth FL, Greensboro NC, Mendham NJ, and other cities, to be announced.
“Occupy Our Homes began with the simple idea of bringing the bold energy of the Occupy movement into communities facing housing crisis to build power through victories for the 99%,” said Nick Espinosa, an organizer with Minneapolis-based Occupy Homes MN. “Over the last year, we’ve fought back against the banks, stopping evictions and winning homes, churches and community landmarks, while relieving debt and reclaiming land.”
December 6th Actions will vary from community to community, but include:
Eviction defenses/home occupations
Reclaiming vacant homes for the homeless
Establishing foreclosure and eviction-free zones
Marches and protests at big banks
On December 6, 2011, scores of groups around the country participated in a day of action for housing justice, launching the Occupy Our Homes movement. Since then, homeowners, housing justice activists, homeless advocates, and occupy groups have come together to fight back under the banner of Occupy Our Homes.
“All over the country, activists have declared housing a human right and come together in solidarity,” said Shab Bashiri, an organizer with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, “We’re occupying our homes to prevent eviction, disrupting foreclosure auctions, restoring vacant homes to community use, and putting the spotlight on the banks that caused this mess in the first place.”
But the fight is far from over. Despite dozens of victories for homeowners around the country, banks are still choosing to foreclose instead of taking payments, refusing to negotiate in good faith with families, still using fraudulent tactics like robo-signing to speed through illegal foreclosures. And bank-owned houses continue to sit empty and untended, destroying property values and pushing more families underwater.
Via Occupy Wall St., via Occupy Our Homes. Be sure to check out their website for more information on how you can support on-going occupations to save homes from foreclosure, including active campaigns like this one to save the home of cancer patient Jacqueline Barber in Atlanta, the Hernandez family currently being harassed by LAPD in Los Angeles, and many more!
Four years after an economic meltdown precipitated by Wall Street greed, fraud, and recklessness in the housing market, Americans continue to face an epidemic of unjust foreclosures. While homeowners and renters seek help to keep their homes, banks have rushed to foreclose and evict, and in too many communities, homes remain vacant while neighbors sleep on the street.
But homeowners, housing justice activists, homeless advocates, and occupiers have come together to fight back under the banner of the Occupy Our Homes movement. Community organizations and occupy groups came together last December to challenge the housing crisis and confront the crooks at the banks who are stealing our homes. On December 6, 2011, scores of groups around the country participated in a day of action for housing justice, launching the Occupy Our Homes movement.
Homeowners, renters, and the homeless joined forces to fight the banks and reclaim our communities. All over the country, activists declared housing a human right. We came together, occupying our homes to prevent eviction, disrupting foreclosure auctions, restoring vacant homes to community use, and protesting the banks that caused this mess in the first place.
But the fight is far from over. Despite dozens of victories for homeowners around the country, banks are still choosing to foreclose instead of taking payments. Banks are still refusing to negotiate with families who seek only a fair solution that keeps them in their home. Banks are still using fraudulent tactics like robo-signing to speed through illegal foreclosures—months after a weak settlement meant to stop this practice. Bank-owned houses continue to sit empty and untended, destroying property values and pushing more and more families underwater.
A year since the start of the Occupy Our Homes movement, we are recommitting to reclaiming our homes and our futures. On Thursday December 6th 2012, we call on communities to turn the spotlight on the crisis that continues to hold our neighborhoods and our economy hostage.
We will take action together:
- Eviction defenses/home occupations
- Reclaiming vacant homes for the homeless
- Establishing foreclosure and eviction-free zones
- Foreclosure auction sit-ins
- Marches on the banks
Occupy Our Homes started with a simple idea: bring the bold, creative energy of the Occupy movement into hard-hit communities and build power through victories for the 99%. We've won homes, churches, community landmarks, and stopped evictions while relieving debt and reclaiming land along the way.
On Thursday December 6th, 2012, we’ll re-invest in this movement to defend our homes, hold Wall Street accountable, and affirm the human right to housing. Join us in solidarity with homeowners, tenants and the homeless to build a just housing system—for the 99%.
If you as an individual or any Occupy group or community-based organization are interested in participating in the D6 actions, please complete this form and someone from Occupy Our Homes will be in touch.
Millions of American families have lost their homes since the beginning of the economic meltdown to unjust and illegal foreclosures by the same banks that precipitated the crisis in the first place. Occupy Wall Street is stepping up to defend these families and their homes from the banks.
This week, a 30-second TV ad featuring six real-life foreclosure fighters will air on national television. The spot advertises ‘Occupy Our Homes,’ an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has empowered thousands of people in housing crisis to fight back against fraudulent foreclosures, to demand fair treatment by mortgage lenders, and, in many cases, to keep their homes. The ad ends with a plug for the movement’s website, OccupyHomes.org, where people can find helpful resources and success stories of communities that have fought back against the banks.
The spot opens with Monique White, a north Minneapolis resident who was the first resident to approach an Occupy group for help in fighting foreclosure. Activists with Occupy Minneapolis occupied her front lawn with tents and banners, and kicked off a seven-month campaign that led to US Bank renegotiating her loan. Five out of the six people featured—including an Atlanta pastor who joined with Occupy to fight the foreclosure of his historic Vine City church—have won their campaigns and fended off foreclosure.
“We’re all in this together,” said Marine veteran and longtime Minneapolis resident Bobby Hull. “Even after we bailed out the banks, they’re stilling trying to take the homes of millions of Americans. I hope this ad will inspire people to fight back like I did, and join forces with the Occupy Homes movement.”
Five members of Occupy Our Homes DC were silenced on Wednesday when they were escorted out of a Congressional hearing while JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was giving testimony on his bank's most recent financial losses.
In an email from Occupy Our Homes DC:
Deborah Harris, a disabled former paramedic who lost the title to her home due to J.P. Morgan’s unethical business practices and is now facing eviction, confronted Mr. Dimon over a microphone, asking him to face the thousands of homeowners like herself that are losing their homes because of his work. She was quickly dragged away while fellow Occupy Our Homes members chanted and loudly accused Mr. Diamond of being a crook.
The protesters, including Ms. Harris, were held in jail for most of the day and by 6:00pm all had
“I told him to face up to the little people, like me, who had saved up for years only to have their homes taken by giants. When they slapped the handcuffs on me, I felt very proud that I was a voice who stood-up.” Deborah Harris, an Organizer with Occupy Our Homes who is facing eviction
“I found it shocking that Jamie Diamond, a billionaire who is responsible for taking thousands of people’s homes, can go before a congressional committee, just apologize and walk away. While those of us who are standing for those that lost their homes are hand-cuffed and thrown in jail.” said, Micah Bales, an Organizer with Occupy Our Homes-DC
A side note, there have been 7,289 Occupy protesters arrested across the nation to date. Bankers arrested for causing the economic collapse of our nation that left millions homeless or stuck with underwater home mortgages? Zero.
Thursday, June 07, 2012, Bloomington, MN-- Before the plates were cleared from the luncheon, Freddie Mac trainers and dozens of conference attendees were startled by a group of Occupy Homes protesters who taped off the entrance and plywooded the doors to their scheduled "Default Servicing Workshop."
A dozen protesters chanted in call-and-response: "This is a crime scene, and Freddie Mac is the criminal. They have been conspiring with PNC Bank and countless others to profit off of families getting thrown out of their homes." Yellow caution tape reading "occupy" was unrolled, emulating the pitched confrontations Minneapolis police have had at the Cruz family home on Cedar Ave in recent weeks.
"We demand that you work with PNC Bank to get the Cruz family in their home," protesters cheered. As Marriott hotel security escorted the protesters out, they chanted "Eviction stops here!"
The Cruz family fell behind on payments during tough economic times. According to Occupy activist Nick Espinosa, the bank failed to withdraw an online payment due to a glitch in its own system. Instead it demanded a multiple-month payment, and when the Cruz family was unable to oblige, the home went into foreclosure. Recently, the family and protesters have grabbed headlines by repeatedly blocking the sheriff's eviction, resulting in 23 arrests and massive MPD force to secure the modest home.
Freddie Mac, which owns the title to scores of foreclosed homes like the Cruz home, visited the Twin Cities region to host a week-long training for its servicers to help them manage through the housing recession and, according to the event's web site, "avoid preventable foreclosure."
"If Freddie Mac is committed to avoiding preventable foreclosure, they need to work with families like the Cruzes who can afford to pay their mortgage," said Cat Salonek, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. "Freddie Mac and PNC have the power to return the Cruz family home today."
Dozens of Occupy Our Homes DC activists attempted to prevent a court-ordered eviction in Washington D.C. on Tuesday before being forcefully removed from the property by U.S. Marshals. They were attempting to stave off the eviction on behalf Dawn Butler, a D.C. resident who has lived at her home for over six years.
The Activists gathered outside the home around 8 a.m. with D.C. Metro Police and U.S. Marshals arriving shortly thereafter. Metro Police warned protesters that they would be subject to arrest after multiple warnings if they didn’t leave the property. U.S. Marshals then announced that they would carry out the eviction. When protesters refused to leave, the Marshals began forcefully removing them, dragging some across the sidewalk and others down the front stairs.