Hundreds of Californians were at the forefront of a national campaign launched yesterday to challenge the Wall Street profiteering that created the housing and economic crisis. Kicked-off with actions nationwide on December 6, “Occupy Our Homes,” is building momentum in the fight against foreclosures and evictions and fueling a growing consensus that banks should write down the mortgage principal for underwater homes as an essential step to fix the economy. California has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, and widespread mortgage principal reduction would save tens of thousands of California homes, pump $20 billion per year into California’s economy and create 300,000 jobs.
Empowered by recent efforts by consumers and communities to stand up against unfair and predatory practices by big banks, homeowners in six cities across California were back by ACCE as they engaged in direct action to “reclaim” houses that banks have left vacant and to stop banks from foreclosing, evicting and profiting further from the economic crash they created. Backed by hundreds of community members, local families in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Oakley, San Jose, and San Diego pledged to fight wrongful foreclosure and eviction at all costs, and in some cases, moved furniture back into their vacant, foreclosed homes. Nationwide, 45 home defenses occurred in 28 cities, highlighted the struggles of over 50 homeowners. Major events took place in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Portland and Minneapolis, backed by a national network of organizations including The New Bottom Line and its local affiliates; New York Communities for Change, SOUL (Chicago), Occupy Wall Street and Take Back the Land. The movement is continuing to grow. Supporters that haven't already are invited to take the pledge in "Defense of our Homes and Neighborhoods" by clicking here.
Last week thousands made a pledge to defend our homes and communities from the big Wall Street banks that have been on a three-year-long foreclosure binge, kicking struggling families out of homes all across the country.
The 99% is saying "No" and fighting back against the big banks in a big way. Community members nationwide are rallying to stop foreclosures, keep families in their homes, and fill vacant homes with displaced residents.
Tomorrow marks the launch of a national campaign to defend families threatened by foreclosure and to support filling empty bank-owned homes with people in need. It all starts tomorrow, December 6, with a nationwide "Occupy Our Homes" day of action.
Find the action near you below.
1% Real Estate Speculator Changes Locks on Childcare Provider and Homeowner of 38 years when she goes to store with great granddaughter
SAN FRANCISCO–Dozens of neighbors, family, friends and supporters will gather to support Josephine Tolbert, a 75 year old great grandmother who – on Tuesday - went to drop off her great granddaughter at school and returned to find her locks changed on her home she bought in 1973. For nearly 20 years she has run a childcare business that helped support the economy and working families in her Portola Neighborhood of San Francisco. On Wednesday, November 30th, she was evicted to profit real estate speculators.
“Just as I am finally getting back on my feet, and seeing success with my childcare business after being ill, I am kicked out of my home. I thought I had more time and was working with counseling agencies to keep my home of 38 years, but have found out that it is not only sold but I came home this morning with my grandchild and found my locks changed. I had to immediately cancel my childcare services leaving 2 families, 5 children, are left without their childcare.” stated Josephine Tolbert. “This isn’t how seniors should be treated over the holidays.”
ReFund California activists open UC Regents’ meeting to the 99% at four teleconferenced meeting locations – Davis, Merced, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; hundreds more occupy buildings at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis in solidarity
After nearly one month of a massive student protest wave throughout the state, demanding that banks, corporations, and California’s wealthy elite pay to re-fund public education and essential services, students and activists with the ReFund California coalition converged on the UC Regents’ teleconference meeting locations on Monday morning. Activists and students at all four locations – UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Los Angeles, and UC San Francisco – successfully transformed the teleconference into People’s Regents’ meetings, opening the dialogue over the university’s funding options to the 99 percent.
Monday’s meeting, which had originally been scheduled for November 16th but was postponed, was held by teleconference at the four campuses, an unprecedented format for Regents’ meetings. The public comment period for the meeting was extended to over 1½ hours in order to accommodate the 150 students, workers, and community members who signed up across the four campuses to speak directly to the Regents. Among those who spoke were students who were beaten, pepper sprayed, and arrested for engaging in nonviolent protest actions at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and CSU Long Beach. Many of them called on the Regents to abandon the excessive force used thus far against students and instead sign the ReFund California pledge to support taxes on millionaires, banks, and corporations for education and essential services.
At the end of the public comment period, students and activists at all four locations used the “people’s mic,” a tactic made popular by the Occupy Wall Street movement, to propose and vote to convene People’s Regents Meetings. These meetings were held in the General Assembly format, a form of direct democracy also made popular by the Occupy movement. Rather than participate in the People’s Regents meetings, most of the bankers and millionaires on the Board of Regents left the room to meet behind closed doors where they voted to approve an “expenditure only” 2012 budget for UC. The budget provides less critical resources for instruction and low-wage workers at UC than past budgets and in doing so stops far short of demanding that banks and millionaires pay to refund public education.
Students, workers, and community members proposed and voted on various resolutions at all four People’s Regents Meeting sites, addressing issues such as the Regents brutal crackdown on students and solidarity with students facing a similar crackdown and tuition hikes at CSU.
Below are highlights from each campus: