9.04.2008

From EVICTIONS to CONVICTIONS: THE NORTHSIDE EXPERIENCE



Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of my birth so the first thing I did was send a message to my mother to congratulate her because she did all of the work with God's Help!

Later that day I received an email in regards to an EVICTION BLOCKADE taking place in Boston. This is what the email said: On July 15, Countrywide, owned by Bank of America, tried to evict Paula Taylor. 75 people showed up to block the eviction. City officials and other political representatives called Bank of America, who decided to back off.

Unfortunately, Bank of America would not negotiate with Paula after the blockade. Now, they have decided again to try to evict. Paula has received her 48-hour notice that she will face forcible eviction on Friday, Sept. 5, at 9 am.

We will block this eviction! If at all possible, please gather at 76 Perrin St. at 8:30 am (or earlier). Perrin St. is off Waverly, which is off Warren, about halfway between Dudley and Grove Hall.

Why is this eviction wrong?
* Paula is willing to pay market rent going forward. Why evict?
* Paula (or a friend/family) is willing to buy back the property at appraised value (about half of previous loan value). The bank cannot logically get more than appraised value.
* Paula is not seeking to make a killing. She will accept a deed restriction (if requested by the bank) that she cannot make any large gains if values suddenly appreciate (unlikely as that is).
* If the bank accepts Paula's rent, and if someone else buys who wants to move in, Paula will voluntarily move out. But Paula will not move voluntarily for a no-fault bank eviction. That hurts the whole community. It's a matter of principle!


This made me reflect on the hard times my own family went through as we moved from apartment to apartment to apartment on the Northeast side of Houston. The pictures accompanying this editorial are shots I took in a series I am releasing soon entitled "The Northside Experience". These are three different complexes near Homestead Road wherein my family was evicted from numerous times.

There were no marches/protests for us or for any other evicted neighbors. There were only landlords/rent snatchers who would come in our apartments while we were gone and take our TV, Nintendo or anything else of value if my mother got behind on rent. This was stressful but we got accustomed to it.

There are people who evacuated in New Orleans to escape Gustav that had to use their rent money to escape because it was the end of the month. Will their landlord's show them any sympathy when they return? Probably not.

No matter what part of the world you reside, the struggles unite us.

Let's take over our communities and build something for ourselves. Turn your evictions into convictions that you won't let it go down like that and that we can change the conditions of our lives and communities. 

The Time is Now...Mediocrity is not in your D.N.A!