After meeting so many courageous people during the week of action at the Department of Justice, my head is still reeling from what a wonderful and amazing experience it really was.
I went to D.C. with other foreclosed homeowners from around the country to protest the Department of Justice, which has refused to prosecute any bankers for the crimes they've committed that crashed the economy and continue kicking people like me out of our homes. Attorney General Eric Holder, who used to work for a law firm that represents Wall Street, has said that the banks are "too big to jail." As a mom, I know that without consequences, there's no change in behavior. I fell into foreclosure because U.S. Bank told me to stop paying my loan so I could get a modification. Then, instead of modifying my loan, they sent me the wrong paperwork and foreclosed on me. If I did something like that, I would go to jail. Why don't the bankers?
When I arrived in DC, I met people from around the country at the training facility and got to know them and their stories. Although they were from different places in the country, our stories were all so familiar. After two days of training exercises led by some fun people, some I knew, some I just met, I was ready for Monday morning/afternoon's action.
Monday morning after breakfast and a few more training exercises, I had my first interview with a local TV station, along with two other women, then we left for Freedom Plaza where we would march to the Department of Justice. After listening to speeches from some phenomenal women about why we were here and what we hoped to accomplish, we assembled at the corner, and proceeded to march to the Department of Justice! We chanted and I took in every minute of that time looking to the left, the right, front and back of me in awe. It was amazing to see how strong this was going to be.
After getting to the Department of Justice I read a portion of a letter to Eric Holder explaining the urgency for him to spend a few minutes hearing directly from some of the millions of Americans whose lives, communities, and economic futures have been devastated by the Wall Street executives whose crimes he has declined to prosecute. When there was no response to our letter, the police retreated back into the building, and we celebrated and embraced that space. We the people did that! We broke into 3 groups and marched to the street where we protested for the next several hours, together.
Word got to us that people were now being arrested in front of the building. We went back to be with our brothers and sisters. When we turned the corner, we found people being tased. Unarmed, peaceful homeowners who were standing their ground were tased and taken to jail. The feeling of victory went away for a brief moment, and was replaced by fear. Why were they doing this to us??
Once the first group was arrested we were allowed to stay there for the rest of the day/night. Some of us camped on the lawn of the Department of Justice. The feeling of victory and pride came back, and although I didn't get more than an hour of sleep it was the best night under the moon I have had in a long time.
Tuesday morning at 6:00 am, 34 police vehicles turned the corner and Homeland Security began tasing people again. Another wave of friends and comrades was taken away. Now running on very little sleep and worrying for everyone that was arrested, I just tried to stay present in the moment. I thought, "If we don't do this, who will?"
Wednesday was a new day, and a new action plan. This time we marched from Freedom Plaza to the Covington and Burling law office, which represents Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, and where Eric Holder worked before becoming Attorney General. Seven other women and I took space in the revolving door, representing the revolving door between Wall Street and our government, as the rest of the group protested inside the building, chanting our chants and being heard. Every other woman in the revolving door was arrested, but not every other woman wrestled with a big ole D.C. cop, I did that! :)
Thursday morning actually came sooner then I expected, but a peaceful shuttle ride to Dulles airport arrived and it was time to get back to my life in St. Paul. That was an experience of a lifetime and I'm thrilled to have been part of something so amazing! I have met the best of the best and I'm so proud to be a homeowner fighting back and a member of Occupy Homes MN. My anthem will forever be "The people united are too big to fail!"
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