Thanks to all your petition signatures, phone calls, and marching on Wells Fargo, I am finally at a place where the girls and I are able to move into a new apartment!
The abandoned Wells Fargo home we reclaimed became the stability I desperately needed to get back on my feet. People who haven't gone through it don't realize the important things you lose when you become homeless. It's way more than stuff. It's your sense of self, your identity, your neighborhood, your reputation, your community, the story you tell people about yourself, and in my case it was the time I had with my girls.
The girls, the community and I at a housewarming barbecue in February.
This house gave me an immediate neighborhood; incredibly supportive neighbors who gladly welcomed me, my family and my movement; and a chance to make something good happen. Ripping up carpet, cleaning up all the garbage and filth, painting a dingy wall pristine white--these are the kinds of things that knit you back into a life. I began to see how my ravaged life could have something good in it too.
At first you feel alone when you're homeless, like it's only happening to you. But that began to change as I met more people who were struggling and who cared about my struggle. The house became bigger than me. Through community support and positive media coverage, we changed the narrative about what homelessness means--and raised awareness that there are 5 vacant homes for every homeless person in this country. As Wells Fargo sent their management company to illegally board up the home four times, we only grew stronger as hundreds of people came through the house to give a part of their life to it to keep the movement going to end homelessness.
Speaking before a march on Wells Fargo this winter. We marched the garbage they'd left behind right back to the bank.
Now that I'm on my feet again, I want to give that opportunity to more people. So I'm leaving the house in capable hands. Josh and Antoine, who were experiencing housing instability, have been here from the beginning, restoring and protecting what Wells Fargo has tried to board up. They are leading the fight demanding Wells Fargo turn this home over to a nonprofit for use as long-term affordable housing. It's so important for people experiencing homelessness to not be thrown away, to have a place where they're invited to contribute and be part of a community in a way they haven't been.
These courageous people have all fought their own housing injustices--including Antoine, center.
Thank you for being part of the movement that helped me reclaim the story of my life. I've really appreciated seeing all of your signatures and would love to meet you. If you're in the Twin Cities, please come to our meetings Saturdays at noon at the reclaimed home, 3325 2nd Ave S in Minneapolis. You can share this petition with your friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to spread the word. Finally, your donations will further this work to make it possible for more homeless families to get on their feet in a way that also empowers them and brings our communities together.
This wouldn't be possible without you. Thank you so much for all your support.
Jessica, Anna, Lily, Ella, and Willow
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