April 16, 2008
This morning’s City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) rally was a historic victory for housing justice. Around 75 people gathered in front of 200 Norfolk Street in Dorchester, where Wells Fargo Bank planned on evicting the Meyers families. That included four brothers and sisters, six children and a licensed day care center. Each household had offered to pay rent, but the bank refused to accept it. Alister Meyers had even offered to buy the building at full appraised value but the bank refused his offer and proceeded with the eviction process. CLVU, a Boston based community organization fighting for tenants’ rights, mobilized a rally and blockade to prevent the eviction from happening. A number of participants had agreed to risk arrest by blocking the entrance to the Meyers’ home with their bodies.
Luckily, Wells Fargo backed down after learning of the organizing efforts. The company has agreed to enter negotiations and will most likely sell the property to Alister Meyers at the appraised value. The rally anticipating confrontation became a celebration of victory, with reflections on the work ahead. Representative Willie May Allen spoke about her fight for legislation that would place a moratorium on foreclosures. Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner addressed the crowd on the importance of challenging the root causes of these evictions, and working toward a society where communities and people take precedence over profit margins.
The rally was followed by a march to the Dorchester Courthouse, where Wells Fargo and other mortgage banks were filing more eviction notices against families. The Boston Workers Alliance, Community Labor United, the AFL-CIO, Dorchester People for Peace, and the Women’s FightBack! Network all read statements of solidarity. A student from Harvard Law School’s legal aid clinic read out a list of homes that have recently entered the foreclosure process, and the crowd pledged to return and get in the way of any attempted eviction.
The fight against environmental racism and classism and the fight against evictions are part of the same struggle for social justice. That struggle begins with building power in the communities that are hit hardest by institutional discrimination, which is why ACE is proud to stand as an ally with CLVU and the movement for housing justice.