Community members marched through downtown Minneapolis and the Eviction Free Zone yesterday demanding JPMorgan Chase Bank negotiate with the Ceballos and Kelly families, both of whom face imminent eviction after foreclosure.
Supporters of the Eviction Free Zone marched through two downtown skyscrapers, marching through Chase Bank lawyers' office, releasing a balloon banner inside a JPMorgan Chase office, and blocking streets surrounding Chase Bank for an hour with a 20-foot tripod suspending a supporter.
"Chase Bank illegally dual tracked us and sent 30 sheriffs to evict our family's home," said Jonathan Ceballos. "But nearly a month later, we're still there, and we're not going anywhere. All we're asking for is a fair negotiation." After illegally dual tracking the Ceballos family--moving forward with eviction even as they said they were negotiating--Chase Bank sent 30 sheriffs to evict them on July 24, arresting 2 for nonviolent resistance. Supporters quickly removed the boards, and three weeks later, the family still holds the home. But Chase refuses to negotiate with Sergio or his neighbor Jaymie Kelly.
"I've lived in my home 30 years and on this block all my life," said Jaymie Kelly. "I've already paid $425,000 for this house--five times what I bought it for. I'm not asking for a bailout. I'm asking for principal reduction to market value of $81,000 so I can pay for it again."
Jaymie was tricked into a predatory loan after her husband died, and Chase refused to negotiate with her. She is awaiting a judgment from eviction court, and if the judge rules against her she could face eviction from Chase Bank and Freddie Mac as soon as this week.
"The federal government is investigating Chase for illegal activities in London and China, but not on Wall Street," said Cat Salonek, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. "They think the economy is recovering--but it's only recovering for the 1%. We're still losing our homes to the greedy banks. It's up to us to hold them accountable in our communities." Several candidates for mayor and city council attended the evening march in south Minneapolis, including mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges. "As far as I'm concerned, the city of Minneapolis is not in the business of providing private security for banks," said Betsy Hodges. "I am proud to stand with you today." Residents of the Powderhorn and Central neighborhoods in south Minneapolis have declared their neighborhood an Eviction Free Zone and have pledged to defend their neighbors from unjust evictions. They are calling for an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until policies are in place to ensure stable, affordable, quality housing for all.