Friday afternoon, the Springfield Bank Tenant Association organized an eviction blockade to defend the Mendez family against Aurora Bank. More than 100 people, sat-in in front of the doors and picketed outside the Mendez family home to protest an unjust and immoral eviction after foreclosure. Prior to today, Aurora Bank had called off all negotiations with the family and refused to accept a rent offer from them. However following a 2-hour stand off in front of the home, the Hampden County Sheriff’s office announced that the bank had cancelled the eviction and left the scene. Following the announcement, we celebrated our victory, vowing to continue the fight against the banks. Led by our brother Jose Mendez we chanted “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”
The SBTA, and the Mendez family made history today by organizing the first eviction blockade in the City of Springfield. Close to 15 people were prepared to be arrested to take a stand against this eviction – and all no-fault evictions by banks after foreclosure. Throughout the day Senator John Kerry’s office and Springfield Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen, along with hundreds of supporters were calling Aurora Bank asking them to reconsider the eviction and accept rent. We are thankful for all of their support. In the coming days we will look to continue these negotiations and seek a permanent solution to keep the Mendez family in their home. If Aurora Bank does decide to proceed with the eviction – the SBTA will be ready with a blockade again.
While our eviction blockade this afternoon successfully beat back Aurora’s attack, it wasn’t the only eviction our movement faced today. Earlier this morning the Springfield Bank Tenant Association and allies, stood strong for an 8 AM vigil with our sister Lilliam Rivera – who was evicted from her home by the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Despite the eviction, Lilliam has become a fearless leader in the fight against Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and for housing as a human right! We’re saddened by this eviction, but also emboldened – as Lilliam told us so many times this week, we can’t ever be silent again – we have to organize, we have to resist, we have to fight back!
Lilliam is one of the Fannie-Freddie 99, a group of more than 100 families fighting eviction & foreclosure by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac have posted their stories on a new tumblr site: http://wearethefanniefreddie99.tumblr.com Springfield No One Leaves, the SBTA, the NEWROAD Network (New England Workers & Residents Organizing Against Displacement) and thousands across the country have launched an ongoing campaign to “take back the people’s banks”. Last month protests were held in NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta and D.C., including a protest at the national headquarters of Fannie Mae where 5 women facing eviction by Fannie or Freddie were arrested in an act of civil disobedience.
Lilliam has a wonderful support network and will be living in an apartment with her close friend. She is prepared with the rest of the Fannie/Freddie fighters in Springfield to continue our ongoing struggle against Fannie & Freddie. Fannie & Freddie are 80% taxpayer owned – but act in the interest of corporate profits not people by foreclosing and evicting. We are demanding that Fannie & Freddie:
- End all no-fault evictions after foreclosure!
- Give loan modifications with principal reduction to the current market value – which would be cheaper for them than foreclosure!
- Sell back homes to occupants at real value after foreclosure.
- STOP selling homes in bulk to investors & hedge funds at discount prices – TURN OVER homes to community control to house people, not fund corporate profits!
Solidarity with Brockton Bank Tenant Association
Tomorrow in Brockton, Massachusetts, the Brockton Bank Tenant Association will hold a stand out on the busy State Highway 27. Each member of the BBTA will hold a letter spelling out “SHAME ON FANNIE MAE.” On September 28 Fannie Mae arrested the Hubbard family and evicted their family without warning in Brockton.
At next week’s Bank Tenant Association meeting we’ll be planning next steps in all of these struggles.