This week, a delegation of homeowners and organizers headed east to Washington, D.C. to join our allies from around the country in national protests at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac headquarters, in addition to Ed DeMarco's home. Anthony kept us posted with these updates.
On the way to DC we made a short pit-stop in Chicago's Southwest neighborhood. It's a predominantly African American neighborhood that has been decimated by the foreclosure crisis. Nearly every block has some degree of vacant properties and some have blocks where 50% of the homes are now empty. Our friends with Occupy Homes Chicago gave us a crash course in their housing justice strategy and a tour of a once vacant home now reclaimed by a family (pic below). "I used to look at these vacant properties and get straight up angry," said our friend with OOHC. "Now, all we see is opportunity."
On Wednesday afternoon the homeowners decided they wanted to stop by the offices of our MN elected Congress and Senate persons. Folks made the rounds to Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Amy Klobuchar and even Michele Bachmann. None were in their office but all were open to letting us meet with their top in-house staffers. All seemed generally sympathetic, took lots of detailed notes and were generally supportive (at least verbally). All, except for Michele Bachmann's office. Hers was staffed by a handful of recent college grads who had no clue or opinion about the foreclosure crisis. "We just work here and....ahhhh, I'm not really sure when she'll be back in the office. And, ahhh you should probably call tomorrow and talk to Sandy about stuff like this." Homeowners decided to raise their fists in protest outside of her office (pic below).
We ended the day by stopping by the Brother Ali concert. Occupy Homes DC had an info booth at the show, raised a nice bit of money from donations and got a ton of new volunteers' contact info (pic below). Ali also gave massive shoutouts to the work we're doing during the show of about 1,000 people. Good stuff.
A full day is planned for tomorrow and we'll keep you posted on our progress.