EVICTION STAYED, HEARING GRANTED – NO ACTION AT MOMS HOUSE TOMORROW MORNING! This morning, #Moms4Housing filed a claim of right to possession in response to the eviction notice received December 3rd. The Court will hold a hearing in 15 days. #SaveMomsHouse #HousingIsAHumanRight
It’s a Wonderful Life 2019
We love It’s a Wonderful Life whose main character is a young man with the world at his feet but who, after a couple wrong turns, instead chooses a life of local political activism. This movie could be remade in Oakland where a happy ending is still possible or is it? It’s a question of communal tenacity.
Oakland Homelessness Doubles over the Last Two Years
Because as nobody can deny, not even the most hard hearted libertarian, something is terribly wrong here in Oakland…and San Francisco, Berkeley, LA…wherever you look. We have become inured to the folks who live curbside, the unhoused, the homeless, not to mention the housing insecure which may include a majority of Oakland’s renters [has anyone done a survey of Oakland renters on this topic?}
As the encampments have grown, so have the evictions, the blight, and the sense of hopelessness so many of us feel over this seemingly intractable problem.
Hopelessness or Action?
But there’s often an activist response that can energize and give hope to the rest of us. While it may not solve the problem, it can offer the beginnings of a moral reawakening while promoting a creative outlet to apathy and despair. And the Moms4Housing movement is that response.
You’ve read about it or seen it in the news. It started with two moms who had been couch surfing or staying in other temporary situations with their kids, Sameerah Karim and Dominique Walker, since joined by others moved into an empty house on Magnolia Street in West Oakland and declared, “This home was stolen from the Black community in the subprime mortgage crisis, and it’s been sitting vacant for nearly years,” adding….”But this system doesn’t work for people; it only works for banks and corporations.”
Demands Made to Wedgewood LLC & Community
Now the Moms4Housing collective is asking the Oakland community to respond to eviction by the sheriff which they expect will be served on them December 17th-to stave off the eviction and force a negotiation which according to Carroll Fife, Oakland Director of ACCE [Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment] who in a letter to the Oakland City Council stated, “I am writing on behalf of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), our Anti-Displacement Chapter and Black Housing Union. We are a grassroots organization fighting to save our communities and reclaim access to a quality of life that is currently, and has historically, been out of reach for the working class and families of color in this country.
We learned about a group of homeless and housing-insecure mothers in Oakland who have recently acquired an uninhabited home as an act of civil disobedience to bring attention to the exasperating conditions for which thousands of working residents of Alameda County currently find themselves. The term housing crisis has been used so frequently that it ceases to capture the brutal detail and devastating impacts that lack of access to affordable housing has on families, futures and our collective infrastructure. ACCE is assisting in bringing these issues to light in order to solve them. I respectfully ask for your support in joining this effort.
Sitting on vacant property during an ongoing housing crisis is morally wrong and extremely detrimental to the health of our county. This activity drives up rental prices and denies access to available housing for families who desperately need it. ACCE, along with thousands of community members, elected officials, local celebrities and labor unions are calling for an end to housing practices that hurt mothers and children and inadvertently impact African Americans more than any other racial group in the county thereby continuing the legacy of second-class citizenship for Black residents for generations to come.
I am calling on you to help bring Wedgewood LLC to a private, neutral table to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution which could include:
- Charitable contribution of the property to a local nonprofit or community land trust to keep the moms housed and the land permanently affordable in perpetuity, or
- Affordable sale of the home to a local nonprofit or community land trust
In addition, you can work with ACCE Action to:
- Promote current legislation to stop the evictions of families during the cold and wet winter months; and
- Transition presently empty housing units across Oakland to homes for the thousands of homeless families.
I am not asking you to sanction the activity that has brought us to this moment. I am asking for your support to bring the parties together to discuss solutions that can be mutually acceptable. Please call (510) 500-7973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can help resolve this situation as quickly as possible, ensuring that everyone has a peaceful holiday. “
At a recent rally at the property to announce upcoming actions, a diverse, mostly young crowd of Oaklanders gathered in support of this act of civil disobedience. And while many on the Oakland City Council have tried to develop a response that is more humane for those seeking secure shelter and in response to the gathering blight in the neighborhoods impacted by encampments, little has been accomplished as the deadly winter rains begin to set in.
Rather than wait and hope for the city and the county, which controls the lion’s share of housing funds, to implement a longed for but much debated emergency housing plan-this group of moms and their supporters have decided direct action is necessary. While it’s easy to say it won’t work and is just a publicity display to focus officials on the seriousness of the problem, rent strikes and housing occupations in past decades have led to real changes in programs and laws in times of extreme inequality like this.
So here we are:
“How will YOU help Save Moms House?
1: I will get my neighbors to put up window signs
2: I’ll come to the solidarity canvass this Friday 4-6 pm
3: I will join the Moms Monday at 9 am to demand the sheriffs halt this eviction
4: I will show up to defend Moms House at 5:30 am, Tuesday Dec. 17th”
It’s up to our community to back up these moms calls to action-first off, preventing abuse by sheriff’s deputies, next, forcing corporations to make real contributions, and finally, moving local, state and federal administrations to cut through the bureaucracy and accomplish something for those who need it the most. Tis the season.