125 community members gathered at the home of the Cruz family in South Minneapolis and 13, including hip-hop artist Brother Ali, were arrested when they crossed the police line to protest PNC Bank’s inexplicable reversal of their commitment to work with the family after the family fell into foreclosure due to a bank error. In front of the crowd of supporters, each of the 13 spoke as to why they were willing to cross the police line before asking the officers to allow them to step onto the property and be arrested, bringing the total arrest count at the home to 39 within the past month.
In Pittsburgh, after reaching PNC Bank’s national headquarters, the Cruz family has vowed to return to headquarters at noon on Friday to demand a good faith negotiation.
“PNC did not give us the meeting we requested. Instead of sitting down for a good faith negotiation with someone who had the power to fix the bank’s error, they sat us down with low-level PR executives who had no intention or authority to negotiate with us,” said Alejandra Cruz. “We came here to resolve this issue, and we’re not leaving without some answers.”
Despite the fact that the Cruz family drove 800 miles to hand deliver their loan modification documents in person, along with over 40,000 petition signatures, PNC Bank refused to work with the family to find a solution that would keep them in their home, inciting outrage and disgust among the family’s supporters.
"As we were leaving, PNC they asked if we were going back home after the meeting. Going back to what home? The one they are trying to take away? They were so callous about our situation. What if this was happening to their family? Would they still be saying that 'there's nothing we can do'?" said David Cruz. "I doubt it."
Thursday night's rally at the Cruz family home concluded a nationwide day of action in which 18 cities rallied to demand PNC negotiate with the family to allow them to return home. In Pittsburgh, 40 supporters rallied with the Cruz caravan and marched with the door to the Cruzes’ home that was violently smashed by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies during a 4:00am raid. Although Alejandra, David and Anthony met with PNC representatives for an hour and submitted their loan modification documents, PNC Bank still refused to negotiate, dismissed their request for a modification and openly displayed contempt for the family.
PNC’s inexcusable behavior demonstrates to the family’s supporters both in Minneapolis and across the nation that PNC would rather see homes sit empty than work with families. Their lack of integrity was apparent when the PR representatives condescendingly told Alejandra and David that “based on your payment history, we don’t think you’d be able to pay for the house,” though they were unable to produce any evidence of missed payments.
The Cruzes’ battle against an unjust foreclosure has already become a focal point for the Occupy movement and garnered media attention from around the country. This evening confirmed that the fight for the Cruz home will continue until the family is back in their home. “We will not be shamed out of what we deserve when PNC Bank is the one who should be ashamed of their behavior. We deserve dignity and a meeting with those who can renegotiate our mortgage,” Alejandra Cruz said to the crowd of supporters in Pittsburgh after the meeting. “We are not giving up. This is not the end.”