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Reflections

Black And Latino Families and the 99%

Causa Justa :: Just Cause

Across the country fallout from the outrage at Big Banks bailouts, the foreclosure crisis and mounting attacks on the working class have awoken many who once lived comfortably and thought the American Dream was theirs. A growing number are now coming to an understanding that there is no dream after all.

In Boston, thousands of people gathered outside Bank of America offices to protest the bank’s foreclosure policies. It was part of a series of ongoing actions organized by the Right to the City Alliance. Causa Justa :: Just Cause was there.

“When you have 3,000 people gathered and surrounding the bank demanding to be recognized and respected, then for each individual inside that bank, they are forced to ask themselves: ‘What am I doing? What role am I playing in this?’ That’s how the policies change,” said Nell Myhand, Oakland Homeower Clinic Coordinator for CJJC and someone personally fighting a foreclosure

The crowd enthusiastically “Took Back” the City of Boston. It coincided with a week of escalating actions in San Francisco “Make Banks Pay,” where a loud and raucous group heckled bank execs at a private party at AT&T Park, chanting “Keep Our Families Safe At Home”; to a bank divestment action targeting B of A, Wells Fargo and Chase banks; to a foreclosure vigil.

Since 2007 2.5 million foreclosures have taken place across the nation. 6.9 million have started and a projected 5.7 million borrowers are at risk. Locally in Oakland there are 1004 properties in default, 2105 bank-owned properties and 760 properties in the process of being sold at Trustee sale.

In San Francisco, some 16,355 homeowners are underwater. By 2012 it’s estimated that 12,410 local homes will be in foreclosures, according to a report by California Reinvestment Coalition and Association of Californians for Community Empowerment.

“B of A has over $2 trillion in assets. They got a $4.2 billion tax refund in 2010. Yet they insist on foreclosing on families with no regard for the circumstances of those individuals. For me, the faces of the people who were there standing up for their homes was so moving it was energizing,” said Myhand.

Causa Justa :: Just Cause has organized scores of protests in front of Big Banks such as B of A and Wells Fargo to put pressure to stop the evictions due to predatory loans. The families facing foreclosures did not cause the economic crisis and the banks have to be accountable for their actions.

Meanwhile protestors at the Wall Street occupation in New York increased each day. The occupation sparked similar protests across the country including San Francisco where an encampment continued to grow in front of the Federal Reserve Bank.

These national protests are bringing together unemployed young people, labor unions and community organizations of working class communities of color. The convergence of different groups to support a single demand to hold big banks accountable is inspiring and historic. The huge wealth and power of the banks means that it will take all of us working together to demand and win the justice we want to see.

“From the 18% unemployment in Black communities, rampant foreclosures and evictions and the profiteering from the detention of immigrants, Black and Latino families have been hardest hit by this economic crisis. Enough is enough. We are the 99%, the growing new majority. We will be heard. We will be seen” Cinthya Munoz, Immigrant Rights Organizer with CJJC.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Black And Latino Families and the 99%

  1. Regardless of ethnicity we are all being affected by the current state of affairs in America. I think it is important to remember that we all need to stand together as brothers and sisters.

    Posted by jeremy | October 10, 2011, 12:01 am
    • Jeremy, I agree that we are all brothers and sisters, race is not biological. However, it would be precariously irresponsible to not apply a racial, queer and gendered analysis (in addition to an analysis on behalf of undocumented folks, incarcerated folks and the disabled). We must honor the historical legacy of people of color in this country as we move forward with our demands or else we will almost certainly face a reproduction of the heinous tragedies that have befallen us. This movement is about corporate greed, inequality, unfairness, selfishness and a host of other things but in addition to facing all of these people of color must still deal with institutional and structural racism – our bodies lie at the intersection of all of these injustices because when the worst of the worst comes we are ALWAYS hit the hardest. This is not to exclude low-income Whites but as it has always been Whiteness, whether rich or poor, wins over being a person of color. Jeremy, we stand in solidarity with you, please hear us when we say we are unequivocally on the same side but there must be a presence & leadership of people of color in order for this movement to succeed.

      Posted by Shanelle Matthews | October 11, 2011, 10:15 am
    • You can’t just say “regardless of ethnicity”. For the past fifty years the unemployment rate for African Americans and Latinos has been at the critical levels that the mainstream white population is now experiencing. If this is to be a movement that responds to that, rather than simply reducing the problems of the most empowered group that spoke up loudest and latest, ethnicity cannot simply be shunted aside as an issue we’ll get to someday.

      Posted by Jaime Omar Yassin | October 11, 2011, 10:57 am

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