Thursday, June 30, 2011

CAEC Members Elects Executive Committee

Chicago Anti- Eviction Campaign
"Amandla Ngawethu"

AGENDA ITEMS: June 29, 2011 Re-adoption of Cape Town AEC principles and umbrella structure:The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is an umbrella structure with an executive committee of a chairperson, a vice chairperson, a secretary, a vice secretary, a treasurer, and five regional(chapter) coordinators. The current Chairperson of the Chicago Anti Eviction Campaign who was elected in June 27, 2011 is Willie J.R. Fleming.

Committee established:
Chairman- Willie J.R. Fleming
Vice Chairman -Herman Bonner
Secretary- Chalonda Warfield
Vice Secretary-Martha Biggs
Treasurer- Henry Warfield

Regional(Chapter) Coordinators
BronzeVille-Herman Bonner Pat Hill
Englewood- Bruce (Tonya)& J.R
Park Manor & Grand crossing -Sar’ai & Martha
Roseland Cheryl Johnson People for Community Recovery
Washington Heights- Sirocco & Frank Mu
Cabrini Green- Henry & Chalonda

Documentation/ Video –Bruce- Matt
Director Communication Media- Howard
Secretary Assist. Sar’ai
Coordinator- Frank Mu
Community Repair Coord. Corey-Tommy

Minutes and Records of meeting documented by Secretary.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Video: Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign/Take Back the Land Chicago moves Homeless Family into Foreclosed Home



Martha Biggs and her 4 children, displaced like so many others from Cabrini Green, and currently homeless, will be moving into a house, 2 years vacant and foreclosed on by one of the top 4 banks responsible for home foreclosure in Chicago: Deutsche Bank. Martha and her children will be joined by their new neighbors, members of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and others fighting for housing as a human right, as they move in furniture, towels, bedding, and other items donated by their very supportive neighbors. The group will also prepare for possible opposition by police or other city authorities, though the legal case against this property, as with 1,700 others in Cook County, will be brought back into court due to fraud committed by the law firm Fisher and Shapiro, who were retained by many of the big banks to process foreclosures, icluding Fannie Mae.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Solidarity: A Winning Narrative - AEC-supported move-in of homeless family into people-less home

Brittany - June 27, 2011 - National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)


The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) held a “well-planned and orchestrated” action on June 17th, reads the New York Times.  In Saturday’s paper, the widely read Times published a striking piece that, despite the title, seems to capture the spirit of the AEC and Biggs family. [To note, it seems the Times changed the article's title from its original: "New Tenants for a Foreclosed Home"].

The Times piece is framed by the Biggs kids’ excitement to be moving into the people-less home after bouts of homelessness.  In fact, the opening paragraph paints a picture of the two youngest Biggs chanting “a nursery rhyme for the age of foreclosure”: “Fight, fight, fight, ‘cause housing is a human right.”  And, it is the strength of the Biggs family that closes out the Times piece, with highlights of how Martha Biggs worked alongside community volunteers to put up dry wall and install tile and plumbing, as well as her daughter’s successful graduation from middle school, despite the family’s homelessness.

In-between, via powerful quotes from J.R. Fleming (founder of the AEC) and Pat Hill (E.D. of the International Year of People of African Descent) and mom of the former owner of the property), many aspects of the AEC’s message are surprisingly clear in the Times article:
  • The coexistence of people-less homes and homeless people is indicative of a serious systemic problem;
  • The people-less homes, which are being scavenged for copper, fixtures and so on, are a problem for the community;
  • The banks are getting bailed out and doing nothing to help the families and communities devastated by the same entities’ risky and often predatory practices; and
  • What the AEC and the Biggs have done, with the support of neighbors and members of the community, is rejuvenating and remarkable (marked by freshly painted rooms, donated dining room set, and the happy sound of giggling) in a community ravaged by foreclosures.
Even the far right’s spokesman Glenn Beck, whose newspaper The Blaze recently focused in on Take Back the Land’s (TBTL) well-publicized May eviction defense of Catherine Lennon, seemed unable to successfully wage an attack on the group’s (and the human right to housing movements’) moral assertion that “housing is a human right, not a commodity.”  A June 24 article did little more than raise questions about TBTL’s human rights-based platform.

The Biggs’ move-in is only the latest of several significant successes in the U.S. human right to housing movement.  Locally, the AEC, which from its inception has recognized that the threat of forced evictions and displacement are presently impacting public and private renters and homeowners, has won two temporary moratoriums on “all economically-motivated evictions” in Cook County, Illinois through community-led eviction defense efforts (find media round-up here). 

Notably, nationally, the Biggs’ move-in comes a little over one month after Ms. Lennon, with the support of TBTL Rochester and Lennon’s neighbors, successfully moved back into her home and defended her family from eviction after a bank foreclosure threatened to leave another home vacant (see Van Jones’ Huffington Post piece on the Rochester “live-in”).

Next on the AEC’s to do list is fostering the growth of alternative visions for housing and land use built on the pillars of human rights principles, which they hope will support the development of neighborhood-based models of ownership and greater housing stability for all members of the community.

Read the NYTimes article in full here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Media: Foreclosed Home Is a Risky Move for Homeless Family


       Martha Biggs and her daughter Justice Smith, 8, now live in a long-deserted South Side 
       two-flat.   Paul Beaty/Chicago News Cooperative

DON TERRY - June 25, 2011 - New York Times

In a giggly voice, a small homeless girl with blue-framed glasses chased her younger brother and sister around the front porch of a long-deserted two-flat on the South Side, chanting, “Fight, fight, fight, ’cause housing is a human right.”

Jimmya Biggs, 10, and her siblings learned the chant — a nursery rhyme for the age of foreclosure — from a group of low-income-housing advocates, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. In a well-planned and orchestrated event on June 17, the campaign moved the children, their single mother and her teenage sister into the foreclosed building to bring attention to what the co-founder of the group, Willie J. R. Fleming, called the “twin evils” of homelessness and foreclosures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign reclaims and repairs foreclosed, vacant property for homeless family

Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
June 17, 2011

Chicago, IL – Today at 1:45pm, in the Park Manor neighborhood, Martha Biggs and her 4 children, displaced like so many others from Cabrini Green, and currently homeless, will be moving into a house, 2 years vacant and foreclosed on by one of the top 4 banks responsible for home foreclosure in Chicago: Deutsche Bank. Martha and her children will be joined by their new neighbors, members of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and others fighting for housing as a human right, as they move in furniture, towels, bedding, and other items donated by their very supportive neighbors. The group will also prepare for possible opposition by police or other city authorities, though the legal case against this property, as with 1,700 others in Cook County, will be brought back into court due to fraud committed by the law firm Fisher and Shapiro, who were retained by many of the big banks to process foreclosures, including Fannie Mae.