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News :: Human Rights : Organizing : Race
Tenants Tell Deutsche Bank to Stop Putting Around
by D and D (NEFAC-Boston)
02 Sep 2008
Bankers, brokers and other elites came together on Saturday, August 30th for a posh and pompous romp at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. The Deutsche Bank Championship featured world class golfers, thousands of spectators, and is sponsored by multinational Deutsche Bank. As it happens, Deutsche Bank is also the leader in home foreclosures in Massachusetts. Protestors from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island picketed outside the tournament, greeting each shuttle bus with their message to stop the evictions and stop the predatory lending that leads to foreclosure.
Two weeks beforehand, City Life/Vida Urbana, a Boston based tenants rights
organization, sent a letter to Deutsche Bank demanding they support MA
legislation that would put a moratorium on evictions in foreclosure cases.
CLVU also demanded the bank call in their top ten servicers to the
negotiating table. They declined as expected and the protest was on!
About one hundred people attended, representing organizations such as
CLVU, Lawrence Community Works, SEIU Local 615, Students for a Democratic
Society, the National Lawyers Guild and others. Among the protestors were
several tenants and former owners of foreclosed homes across the region.
One woman from Lawrence, MA, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic,
expressed her frustration by saying "the bank tells us to leave, but all
the houses are abandoned. We need to talk together, to negotiate in order
to keep people in their homes. We came here looking for the American
Dream, not the American Nightmare." It's no coincidence that so many
immigrants, people of color and low-income families are bearing the brunt
of this crisis. Mortgage companies have targeted these people for
predatory lending scams such as sub-prime loans. Between February 2007 and
February 2008, 31,516 foreclosures were initiated in Massachusetts alone.
The number continues to grow exponentially.
Soledad Lawrence, a tenant organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana,
appropriately drew the connections between the foreclosure crisis and the
racist and classist displacement of mainly African American poor residents
of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Lawrence stated "Foreclosure
is like Katrina without the water." As residents of the Gulf Coast prepare
for Hurricane Gustav, tenants in Boston and across the US brace for the
continuing economic tidal waves of foreclosure, unemployment and rising
food and energy prices. Working class people are displaced from their
homes and communities by the greed of Capitalist "development."
Many tenants and former owners shared their stories at the protest. Those
most directly affected, such as Miriam, an East Boston tenant currently
living in a foreclosed building, are pushing the organizing forward
despite the fear that banks and real estate agencies try to instill in
them. Speaking at the rally, she said "Many people are suffering, but
together we can move forward and we will win!" Protestors were enlivened
and inspired by people's stories of struggle.
The demonstration was only a small component of the multi-faceted campaign
to resist evictions after foreclosure. When it comes down to it,
participants are prepared to physically block evictions. We're proud of
our 7 for 7 track record. Saturday's protestors will return to their
respective neighborhoods invigorated and ready to continue the
door-to-door organizing that is the heart of the struggle.
If you live in the Boston area and want to support the campaign, please contact the Boston No-Eviction Network at: boston.noevictions(nospam)gmail.com
This work licensed under a
Creative Commons license.