On last nights #OccupySupply Skill Share we where joined by Anthony Newby an organizer with Occupy Our Homes in Minnesota. The group has taken direct action to handle this issue through eviction defense. In Minnesota they have recently been able to help several people keep their homes and force banks to give loan re modifications. Allying themselves with local affinity groups they have done an exceptional job of finding people the bank has used unscrupulous tactics to illegally evict and working with them to keep their homes.
The conversation began with a brief overview of the story of Ruby Brown a recent victory over Bank Of America. Ruby was part of the “Minnesota 5″ a grouping of home owners fighting back against Bank of America during a week of action. She received a letter stating that the bank was willing to renegotiate her loan just days before her home was scheduled to be auctioned off. Anthony talked about the early meetings with Ruby and others who had successfully kept their homes. The first chapter of any defense is home owner outreach it is important do knock on doors and build relationships with the homeowners their neighbors. Anthony discussed the early meetings with homeowners he stressed that it is necessary to gauge their willingness to do media and stay in the fight to the end. As with most things in this world it is also important that the person going through this has an income and supports system to help them through the process. The diligence of outreach in Occupy Our Homes MN has kept them from wasting time with people who don’t have the time our resources to take on the bank. Antony continued to go over some of the logistics of home owner outreach
After meeting with homeowners the next step is media and messaging. Defending a home against foreclosure is a public relations battle that Banks can’t win. One of the ways Occupy Our Homes MN has been so successful is by making short videos about the lives of people being foreclosed. Personalizing the story of foreclosure victims is important in activating support for defense. Occupy Our Homes has been able to control the narrative about their actions. They have been able get some local artists to join in their activism including Minnesota rapper Brother Ali who got involved after hearing about the story of Bobby Hull. Organizers for Occupy Our Homes MN have appeared on Democracy Now and even mainstream media outlets like MSNBC now the media work that has been done is fueling momentum. During the question and answer section Anthony was asked about the future of Occupy Our Homes MN, with recent victories and more on the way with the new strategy of grouping the future looks bright for foreclosure activism in Minnesota thanks to organizers like Anthony Newby and everyone who has been a part of Occupy Our Homes around the country.