Posted 1 year ago on Dec. 20, 2011, 1:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
On Tuesday December 20th State Senator Vincent Fort, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Dean of the civil rights movement Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader Joe Beasley, and other members of the Occupy Atlanta family will be present at Brigitte Walker's house at 2607 South Hills Dr. Riverdale, GA at 11am to announce a major development not only for the local Atlanta Occupations, but for the "Occupy Our Homes" movement across the country.
Brigitte Walker is a former Army Staff Sergeant and decorated Iraq War veteran. When she was medically discharged in 2007, her income was cut in half. Since then she has struggled not only with her wounds received in service to her country, but also with paying her mortgage. Occupy Atlanta finds this situation outrageous and hopes her story will bring light to the many other similar stories unfolding across America.
Banks have been found, over and over again, to be breaking laws while they take our homes. We’ve got a new kind of bank robber – banks robbing our homes. Americans across the country are standing up. We’re defending our homes. We’ve decided to stand up and fight for what’s ours.
In late November, Brigitte Walker, a decorated Iraq War veteran received another foreclosure notice. Brigitte had unsuccessfully tried to modify her loan with Chase Bank since she medically retired from the army as a result of combat related injuries in 2007. Her home was set to be sold on the Fulton County Courthouse steps on January 3rd, whether she was in it or not. Instead of making holiday plans or putting up a Christmas tree, Brigitte and her girlfriend Ajai were worried about losing their home. On a whim, Brigitte sent an email to Georgia state senator Vincent Fort, who set up a meeting with Occupy Atlanta. On December 6, after leaving the very same auction where Brigitte’s home was to be sold the following month, we started occupying her home.
The sad reality is that countless families in Georgia have their homes auctioned off at county court houses every month. Many believe that homes auctioned on the court house steps are unoccupied. This is not true; Occupy Atlanta has seen multiple families begging auctioneers not to sell their homes. For many, this auction is the last nail in the coffin of their American dream, their home. Let’s not get it twisted, the auctioning of occupied foreclosed homes in Georgia is nasty business.
In Georgia, the foreclosure process can begin after just one missed payment. The lender then sets a sale date for that home to be auctioned off, and publishes the sale notice in the county paper. They are only required to give the homeowner 30 days’ notice, and there is no requirement that the homeowner receives the notice, only that it is sent. If the sale goes through, there is no right of redemption in Georgia, meaning there is no way for a homeowner to reclaim their home. Disrupting the auction of a home literally gives a family one more month of housing, and in some cases one more chance to save their home.
A six to nine month moratorium on evictions and foreclosures would allow time for bank inflated home values to be re-assessed to realistic payable levels. The banks’ irresponsible practices played a huge role in our current crisis. In their time of need we bailed them out. Now it’s their turn to do the right thing, to stop holding our economy hostage.
After two press conferences on her lawn, a national call in day, and direct action on Chase Bank, Occupy Atlanta did what Brigitte Walker couldn’t do in years, get a loan modification. If it weren’t for Occupy Atlanta and Brigitte Walker’s willingness to resist Chase Banks she would have had her American Dream auctioned off on the Fulton county court house steps. Instead Brigitte Walker and her family can breathe easy knowing they can continue to live the American dream of home ownership.
Winning Brigitte’s home is a win for the people. It should be a call for Georgians to fight for their homes, and fight for their neighbors’ homes. Let’s not forget, we outnumber the bank executives.
Here's video of the original press conference at Brigitte Walker's home with Occupy Atlanta:
Check out more at http://occupyourhomes.org