Friday, April 11, 2014

Remain, Reclaim, and Rebuild!

The collaboration between Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America and Occupy Our Homes Atlanta (OOHA), and American Friends Service Committee which led to last year's popular bus tour of OOHA's activities in the Pittsburgh neighborhood and the proposed Falcon's stadium, continued this year with an April 5 tour of OOHA and local residents' recent work in four core Atlanta neighborhoods: Pittsburgh, Vine City, English Ave, and Peoplestown.

The tour began at the Rick McDevitt Center in the Peoplestown community where OOHA and AFSC plan to launch a community wide housing justice campaign later this year. Residents and OOHA members introduce the tour. Then, the bus carried participants through the neighborhoods to stops that focused on individual housing fights that brought major victories or inspired other landmark housing fights across the country. At each stop resident fighter who led each campaign talked about why they fought, struggles of the campaign, and what work they’ve been inspired to continue since.

The tour showcased the diversity of various housing justice campaigns that OOHA has been able to win with their organizing models. From renter fights, to foreclosure resistance, even reclaiming vacant homes for homeless people it's clear that OOHA is nimble enough to look at the issue of housing from dramatically different angles.

The tour will ended with an informal dinner at Emmaus House, a community center in Peoplestown that has provided social services and has been a catalyst for community activism since the urban renewal days of the 1960s.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Steve Boudreaux, Home Defender Gone but not Forgotten!

On Monday April 7th, long time home defender and OOHA stalwart Steve Boudreaux passed away after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke a week prior. Steve got involved with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta as his home was headed toward the auction block on the Cobb County courthouse steps. After Steve reached out to OOHA he learned how to launch a housing justice campaign.  Steve eventually won his campaign and forced Wells Fargo to rescend his foreclosure and make a deal he could afford.

After Steve won he made one thing clear over and over agian, he wanted to pay it forward. Steve went on to being one of the most active members of OOHA, showing up to meetings, comforting folks coming in the room with their own housing struggles, being a walking testiment that when we fight we win, and coming to just about every action we plan. Steve stuck around through the good times and the bad. We all came to love him, and he will be deeply missed.

As we mourn the loss of a dedicated activist with a huge heart, we have been invited to attend Steve's memorial service. The service will take place this Saturday (4/12) at 2PM at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation located at 2799 Holly Springs Road Marietta, GA 30062.

Memorial for Steve Boudreaux
Saturday 4/12 at 2PM, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 2799 Holly Springs Road Marietta, GA 30062

During this difficult time we are all reminded of Steve's pay it forward mentality. Though Steve didn't mention it often, he was a veteran and the issue of veteran evictions was very close to his heart. Please take the time to sign and share OOHA's latest veteran home defenders online petition.
OOHA will be holding a special memorial service 4/19 at 7pm, details TBA.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Georgian's Surround The Governor's Mansion

 No Mr. Governor, we will not go around back. While you might think it is hard to get hundreds of people to agree instantaneously, for this question the answer was swift and unanimous. We, the people, assembled in front of the Governor's Mansion, the People’s House, would not leave the front of the mansion and deliver the wishes of 50,000 people to the back door of our house.

Instead, we stood, in the rain. Packing the street in front of the mansion we waited for the opportunity to deliver the message from 50,000 of our fellow Georgians. Expand Medicaid Now. Do it without delay and help stop 10 people from dying everyday. We stood for hours, hundreds of us, just waiting to have our voices heard. We were there to tell Governor Deal, that all lives matter; that is what we chanted as we lined the streets, Expand Medicaid Now; All Lives Matter, we chanted this because Governor Deal has put politics before the people he is sworn to protect.

We were there to deliver our message because we believe that the 650,000 people in the Medicaid gap matter. We believe that the estimated 10 people who will die every day matter. So we lined the streets and marched up to the gate to demand to be heard. Acception our  petition. Accept the voice of 50,000 people in Georgia who believe that all lives matter. In the end we were denied. We came in good faith to be received by a public servant and instead we were refused. We were turned away from the front gate and told we could deliver our petition around back. Use the back door of our house? That was not an option.So, there the gate stood. Blocking our path to the People’s House much in the same way that Governor Deal is blocking health care to 650,000 people.

Refusing to acquiesce we instead decided to converge on a different door. Before we left the mansion we placed crosses in the fench, each one representing a Georgians that has already needlessly died without Medicaid expansion. The next morning we again met. Faith and community leaders, old and young, black and white, gay and straight, we met at the Governor's office at the Capitol. We came together in front of his office door, holding hands we prayed; that Governor Deal would open his heart and stop letting Georgian’s suffer and die needlessly at his hand. Refusing to meet us in person we were instead able to deliver the messages of 50,000 people to his office staff. We are all different types of people, from all different walks of life, but our message was the same. Expand Medicaid Now. All Lives Matter.

Make your voice count. Join us at the Capital, 4pm April 21st. 

Guest Writer,
Jackie Rodriguez
Moral Monday Georgia

Monday, March 31, 2014

Moral Monday's Big Plans For The Governor's Mansion

The 2014 legislative session in Georgia saw some of the most extreme regressive legislation seen in a generation and included attacks on the poor, women’s rights, immigrants, the working uninsured, voting rights, victims of gun violence, people of color, and public education among others. Numerous bills that will turn the clock back in Georgia are now awaiting Governor Nathan Deal's signature in order to become law.

On Monday March 31, community groups, faith leaders, American Friends Service Committee,NAACP Georgia, Atlanta Jobs With Justice, and concerned Georgians will come together under the banner of Moral Mondays to plan out their response.  A rally is being organized at the Governor's mansion on April 7, urging him to veto the immoral legislation. The group has also launched a petition calling on Governor Deal to veto HB 990 and expand Medicaid in Georgia with a goal of reaching 65,000 signatures (10% of the number of Georgians who would be eligible for healthcare under the expansion) and plan to deliver the petition to the Governor at the demonstration.

Reverend Raphael Warnock of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church will be present at the meeting on Monday and plans to give a brief welcoming. Reverend Warnock, who was recently arrested at the Capitol for protesting the Governor's refusal to expand Medicaid, was quoted as saying "It is no exaggeration to say that we are here on a matter of life and death." As many as 10 Georgians die each day from a lack of access to healthcare.
With the stakes so high, and with Georgians increasingly supporting Medicaid expansion, plans have been made across the state this week to collect signatures in churches, on campuses, at events, and door-to-door in neighborhoods in order to reach the ambitious goal of 65,000 signatures by April 7.
Ronnie Mosley, a Morehouse student who plans to collect signatures on campus this week said, "It's gonna take a lot of work, but we believe we can meet our goal. People are tired of elected officials putting politics before what is best for our state. Most Georgians want the expansion, so we're committed to getting these signatures and sending a clear message to Governor Deal that he can't ignore our voices forever."

An online version of the petition can be found by clicking here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

DeKalb County Court Obstructing Justice In Mark Harris Case?

The Judge presiding over Mark Harris' case is making some questionable demands. Demands like trying to have lawyer Mawuli Davis remove himself representing the Avondale 4!

On Thursday  morning,  "Too Much Truth" radio host, Derrick Boazman will be holding a press conference at the Dekalb County Courthouse alongside American Friends Service Committee, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Malcom X Grassroots Movement, and the NAACP DeKalb County to bring those demands to light!

As the press conference began thousands of concerned residents began calling the DeKalb solicitor upset that the judge would consider obstructing such an important case. The Question has been asked, has Fannie Mae played any role in this clear obstruction of justice?

On Monday American Friends Service Committee calls on folks to stand with Desert Storm veteran and home defender Mark Harris and brave attorney Mawuli Davis.