Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Parkwood Farms Resumes In Defiance of HSBC/Everyhomes

Despite having no guarantee that the eviction process won’t move forward, classes at Parkwood Farms therapy center in Snellville resumed today

"We aren't going to be held hostage anymore by these proceedings," said owner Marilyn Peterson.
It was truly beautiful to experience Parkwood Farms in full effect. The eyes of children light up as they stepped out of their parents cars and towards the horses they've all built important bonds with.

The horses even seemed excited, all the volunteers tell me the horses are kind of spoiled at Parkwoods.

Watching the volunteers, the children, parents, and horses interact in became clear to me what folks are fighting for. Parkwood Farms is a truly transformative community. A space where children who struggle with disabilities can find refugee with each other and these amazing animals, a space where parents can share the struggles and triumphs of parenthood, a space where volunteers can give their most precious resource, their time, to something they believe in.

There was a joy of resistance in the air today at Parkwoods, that's the only way I can describe it. Folks were aware that the farm is legally still under threat of eviction and that reopening the Park is an act of civil disobedience, yet the farm was busy all afternoon with children who missed a week of therapy and were eager to spend time with their favorite horse.

Yesterday Peterson and a group of supporters traveled to Atlanta to visit the law offices of Shapiro and Swertfeger, a group that represents the mortgage and lending industry and specializes in foreclosures. In fact, they win awards every year for their high level of success in moving foreclosures and evictions forward quickly.

The goal was simple - put a face to the names behind the court case. The group held large copies of photographs of special needs students at the farm, winning medals and caring for the horses, telling their stories to whoever would listen.

"This picture is of the Special Olympics team," she told members of the media outside the law offices of Shapiro and Swertfeger, displaying a picture of her students. "We take a team every year to the state games. We just want to make sure that this company understands that an eviction would put us out of business, and we wouldn't be able to provide these services to all these people."

At this point HSBC and Everyhomes has expressed a willingness to negotiate, something they have never done before. So far there has been nothing but lip service seemed aimed at stopping more bad press and bad will flowing toward their banks. We will see how things develop. We've learned the hard way that until the ink drys a banks word is work nothing.

Today, it was just lovely to see smiling beautiful children riding horses at Parkwood Farms.


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