By Kris Hamel
The Occupy Wall Street movement in cities across the United States took part in a National Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes on Dec. 6. In announcing the planned day of action, OWS released a statement saying that the movement would “join the struggle of families and communities that have been on the front lines of a struggle for economic justice. We will stand in solidarity and ask our fellow occupations to join us for a national day of action on the foreclosure crisis.” (occupywallst.org, Nov. 23)
Kyra Williams with attorney Vanessa Fluker.
Actions took place in at least 25 cities, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, N.Y., Riverside, Calif., and Portland, Ore. They included disruptions of foreclosure auctions; taking over and occupying empty housing; moving foreclosed families back into their homes; protesting outside banks; and rallying in support of homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction.
A victory was won in Detroit when CitiMortgage, getting wind of a protest being organized to stop the eviction of Kyra Williams, backed off and agreed to allow Williams to stay in her home. Jerry Goldberg of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs told the protesters assembled outside the Williams home on the near east side of Detroit: “Last night at 6:30 the lawyer for the mortgage company called Vanessa Fluker, Williams’ attorney, and said they heard that Occupy Detroit was going to storm the courthouse this morning, so they dismissed the eviction and have agreed in writing to let Williams purchase the property and stay in her home. We have to keep them to their word because they’ve reneged before. It was the people’s struggle that won this victory.”
Robert and Debbie Henry vow to resist
Bank of America eviction.
WW photos: Kris Hamel
Moratorium NOW!, Jobs With Justice and Occupy Detroit organized the demonstration. Speaker after speaker denounced the banks and mortgage companies and their fraudulent, racist, predatory lending, which has destroyed communities around the country.
Goldberg, Fluker and Steve Babson of the People Before Banks Coalition spoke out against the ongoing “silent bailout” that banks are receiving from the federal government, which is the number one foreclosing entity in the country. Mortgage loans owned or backed by government-owned Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Authority comprise 75 percent of mortgages in the U.S. today. Lenders are paid the full value of the inflated loans while homeowners are tossed out into the street.
Activists earlier held a support rally outside the home of Debbie Henry and Robert Henry of Southgate, Mich., a downriver Detroit suburb. The couple have vowed to resist eviction by Bank of America and Fannie Mae. Activists will stand with and assist the family on Jan. 2 to stop the eviction.
For more information on these struggles, visit www.moratorium-mi.org.