Activists plan protests as elderly couple faces loss of home
Published Jul 21, 2010 2:17 PM
Forty-five activists attended an organizing meeting July 17 at Central United
Methodist Church sponsored by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop
Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs. They discussed and projected
plans for a number of struggle initiatives in the upcoming weeks.
People’s attorney Vanessa Fluker outlined the story of 79-year-old Marvin
Morris and his ailing spouse, Louise, who face foreclosure and eviction from
their home of 38 years after running out of options in the court system.
Morris sat beside Fluker as she told how the Michigan Supreme Court refused to
hear the Morrises’ case and how justice cannot be won in the courts but
must be won in the streets. “Things aren’t getting any better with
the foreclosure epidemic,” said Fluker. “In fact they’re
getting worse. Lenders just won’t work with homeowners.
“Mr. Morris has never missed an escrow payment of $487 a month — in
fact he has already paid more than what his home is worth! — but Barclays
Bank and HomEq just want it all. They want them out. We have to make it a top
priority to keep Mr. and Mrs. Morris in their home. Because this isn’t
just about the Morrises — it’s about everyone that comes after them
and everyone else right now who is up against these predatory banks.”
Morris said there are seven houses on his block alone that are vacant due to
foreclosure. The house next door to his is empty and vandalized and is slated
to be torn down.
The coalition will hold a press conference and demonstration on July 22 at 5
p.m. outside the Morris home at 9592 Plainview in Detroit. Community members
will pack the courtroom of Judge Kathleen MacDonald in Wayne County Circuit
Court on July 23 at 9 a.m. as she hears testimony from Barclays and HomEq on
why the Morrises should be tossed out of their home.
A blitz campaign of e-mails, phone calls and faxes is being set up to put
community and media pressure on Barclays and HomEq and expose their illegal
foreclosure and eviction of the elderly Morrises from their home. Details will
be forthcoming at www.moratorium-mi.org.
Banks behind other ills
Jerry Goldberg, a coalition leader and anti-foreclosure attorney, said that
“almost all home loans now are backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or HUD
[Department of Housing and Urban Development], in other words, the federal
government.” Goldberg said over $400 billion has been given to
government-backed agencies to pay banks for the full amount of mortgages along
with added fees for every foreclosure carried out.
“The banks don’t just own and control homes and communities, but
schools, cities, everything,” said Michigan Citizen reporter Diane
Bukowski, who talked about the role of the banks and lending institutions in
the budget crises facing the Detroit Public Schools and the city of
Bukowski’s research revealed that DPS this year owes $439.8 million to
the Bank of New York Mellon. Next year that debt is expected to reach $523.8
million or a staggering 90.7 percent of DPS’s per-pupil state aid for
Coalition members voiced a resounding “Yes!” when Bukowski called
for strengthening the campaign to demand a moratorium on the DPS and the
city’s debt service and interest payments to the banks. She said Detroit
and other cities around the country facing similar budget crises should follow
the example of Cuba and other Latin American countries that have refused to be
held hostage by the imperialist banks.
Abayomi Azikiwe, a leader of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and
Injustice, reported on the rash of racist incidents in suburban Eastpointe,
where African-American families have received death threat letters and a house
burned recently in a possibly related incident. A solidarity action with the
African-American community in Eastpointe is being planned by activists in
conjunction with MECAWI.
Raphael Thurin of the Detroit Socialist Party gave a report on unemployment,
the cutoff of extended unemployment benefits, and why workers must demand and
fight for full employment and a public works program similar to that of the
Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.
Organizers will be doing further outreach on these various struggles and are
planning a contingent in the Aug. 28 Detroit march for jobs, justice and peace
recently announced by the United Auto Workers and the Rainbow PUSH
A dynamic discussion took place after the reports.
The coalition meets every Monday at 7 p.m. at 5920 Second Ave., Detroit. To get
involved go to www.moratorium-mi.org, call 313-887-4344 or attend a meeting.
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