Moratorium NOW!

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Supporters of the Moratorium Now! Coalition protest outside Detroit city headquarters on Friday, October 10, 2008


The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is a coalition of grassroots activists and organizations, union and religious leaders, farmers, politicians, and concerned citizens from across Michigan that formed in the spring of 2008 to fight for the passage of Senate Bill 1306, now numbered SB 29, "which would stop all mortgage foreclosures and evictions for two years. Some of our most committed activists have themselves been foreclosed and evicted from their homes and farms."[1]

Moratorium NOW! is affiliated with the Bail Out the People Movement and is controlled by the Workers World Party. The organization's office is located at the Central United Methodist Church and holds meetings there.[2][3]

History

Writing in Workers World on Jan. 14, 2008, Kris Hamel discussed the origins of Moratorium NOW!,[4]

"More than 400,000 jobs have been lost in the state since 2001. Now, that economic crisis has extended nationwide... According to a report issued on June 5 by the Mortgage Bankers Association, approximately one of every 11 mortgages in the U.S. was past due or in foreclosure at the end of March... Falling home values have left many homeowners with mortgages in excess of the value of their homes...
The Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions is organizing around the state to win passage of SB 1306, a two-year moratorium introduced into the Michigan Legislature by state Sen. Hansen Clarke. In 2007, activists with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice began to popularize the idea of a foreclosure moratorium based on the emergency powers invested in the governor by the state constitution during times of disaster. Demonstrations were held at the state capitol in Lansing demanding that Gov. Jennifer Granholm declare a state of economic emergency and impose a moratorium to stop foreclosures and evictions."

Members & supporters

Sponsors of SB 1306

As at July 7, 2008, the following were sponsors of the bill:[11]

Co-Sponsors:

Endorsers of SB 1306

The following endorsed the bill:[11]

May 2008 Meeting

On May 17, 2008, Moratorium NOW! held a multinational meeting at the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. Excerpts from Workers World Party member Bryan Pfeifer's report on the meeting posted at Emerging Minds are below.[12]

Rep. John Conyers stressed the seriousness of the moratorium struggle, saying it’s a crime for poor and working people to be foreclosed on and evicted, or have their water and lights cut off due to inability to pay. “We have to nationalize this moratorium movement. This is a global situation,” he said.
Bruce Feaster of Sen. Clarke’s office told coalition participants that “you are the lobbyists” for this bill. He described how the banks pay millions to their lobbyists to get what they want, but that there are more poor and working people than bankers.

Also speaking at the meeting were Diane Campbell, an African-American Detroit resident; Debbie Johnson of the Moratorium NOW Coalition; Caleb Maupin, the moratorium coalition’s intern; Pastor Golliday, Benton Harbor who endorsed the moratorium bill, and is using his church as an organizing center in Western Michigan; and David Sole, an organizer with the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and president of United Auto Workers Local 2334.

Sept. 2008 Protest at Michigan Capitol

On Sept. 17, 2008, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions sponsored a rally at the Michigan State Capitol, demanding the State Legislature enact SB 1306, a two-year foreclosure moratorium bill. Bryan Pfeifer of Lansing, Michigan, writing at the International Action Center - Boston's website wrote a summary of the day's events,[3]

"...Dozens of UNITE HERE union members came from Detroit on a bus sponsored by the Change to Win labor federation. Other unionists included United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers.
The Green Party of Michigan, Detroit Greens and the Cynthia McKinney presidential campaign were represented, as were Students for a Democratic Society, National Lawyers Guild, Workers World Party, Food Not Bombs, the independent newspaper collective Critical Moment, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, Michigan Welfare Rights, Call ’Em Out, Latinos Unidos of Michigan, Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition, Joint Religious Organizing Network for Action and Hope, and the Adrian Dominican Sisters & Associates for Peace.
After leaving buses, vans and carpools, protesters began marching in a huge picket line. Sandra Hines and Abayomi Azikiwe of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition led chants of “We the people demand relief–Moratorium NOW!” and “A home is a right–We’re gonna fight, fight, fight!”... Azikiwe ...and co-chair Kris Hamel kicked off the rally on the Capitol steps...
Reverend Ed Rowe of Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, one of the coalition’s initiators, said, “We’re fired up and ready to go. No more bailouts to the rich.” Rowe said all faith-based organizations should be supporting SB 1306. He pledged ongoing support to the coalition, whose office is in his church. Rowe worked with state Senator Hansen Clarke in drafting and sponsoring SB 1306...
State Representatives Gabe Leland, Shanelle Jackson, Bettie Cook Scott and Steve Tobocman also addressed the crowd, as did state Sen. Martha G. Scott. Speaking from her wheelchair, Rubie Curl-Pinkins declared, “I don’t want anyone else to lose their home. Keep on fighting!”... Nikki Curl, Pinkins’ daughter, said, “When we come together as one, we can make a difference.” Sandra Hines, whose family home of 40 years was seized by the bank, said, “This is a national fight. We’re going to force elected officials to move. We have to win this moratorium.”
Jerry Goldberg, people’s attorney and coalition leader, said, “We can’t wait one more day for a moratorium. We need an executive order from Governor Granholm..." Juan Daniel Castro of the Grand Rapids Latino Community Coalition connected the struggles of poor and working people in the United States to those in Latin America...
Linette Crosby from rural St. Johns told how her family’s 140-acre mint farm, which has been in existence since 1912, is now in foreclosure... Larry Holmes of New York City, a leader of the Troops Out Now Coalition and the Ad Hoc National Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions, told the crowd: “When the rich want something, nothing is ever enough..."
Robert Pratt of UNITE HERE... with dozens of union members in red shirts behind him on the steps of the Capitol, pledged to organize to help make the moratorium a reality. Rosendo Delgado of Latinos Unidos of Michigan stated: “If we can get a moratorium passed in Michigan, it will spread like wildfire. Therefore we must fight to make this bill a reality.”"

People's Summit

Main Stage at the People's Summit, Grand Circus Park, Detroit

From June 14-17 2009, the Moratorium NOW!-initiated People's Summit was held at Grand Circus Park, Detroit. A "tent city" was built at the location, and protesters camped there for four days of "Active Resistance, Political Discussion and Strategizing for a “People's Stimulus Plans” and an “Economic Bill of Rights” for Working People and the Poor." The summit was in response to the June 15-17, 2009 National Business Summit, sponsored by the Detroit Economic Club which took place at the Renaissance Center, General Motors Corporate Headquarters.[13]

Their website claims,

"These wealthy businesspeople will put their greedy heads together to discuss “innovation and policy ideas in technol­ogy, energy, environment and manufactur­ing.” In other words, they will be strategizing on how to further increase their profits at the expense of the ever-shrinking middle class, the vast working class and the growing millions living in utter poverty.
The People’s Summit will be a dynamic event. During the People’s Summit, organizers will implement a moratorium on foreclosure evictions by going into the neighborhoods and supporting homeowners who are willing to confront the bailiffs. If there is a strike, demonstration or sit in, the People’s Summit will join it. The People’s Summit will confront the big-business CEOs and politicians gathering next door."

Speakers

Endorsers

The following individuals and organizations endorsed the summit:[13]

Fluker award

In February 2010, Attorney Vanessa Fluker, a leader of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs, was honored at a brunch held Feb. 20 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan presented Fluker with its prestigious Harriet Tubman Award for her legal services on behalf of children victimized by lead poisoning as well as her work representing homeowners fighting foreclosures and predatory lending. Coalition members and several of Fluker’s clients were among the hundreds who attended the BWLAM program.

“For every home we are able to save there are a thousand families who are put out on the street. If you think this doesn’t affect you, think again. Have your home appraised and see what it’s worth,” said Fluker. “The federal government is paying the banks to toss people out of their homes. Everyone must take up the fight for justice against the banks and lenders who continue to get billions in our tax dollars.”

Fluker was also presented with citations from several dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr..[17]

References

  1. Moratorium NOW!: About Us (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  2. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition attending a meeting at the Central United Methodist Church on Nov. 20 in Detroit, Nov. 20, 2010 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  3. 3.0 3.1 International Action Center - Boston: People tell Michigan legislators: ‘MORATORIUM NOW!’ (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Workers World: Moratorium NOW! Coalition fights to stop foreclosures and evictions, Jan. 14, 2008 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  5. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Linda Willis of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition at a demonstration outside the Bank of America in downtown Detroit, Sept. 1, 2010 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Michelle Hart and her Atty. Vanessa Fluker speaking with a reporter from WDET public radio in Detroit, May 31, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  7. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Moratorium Now! Coalition rally outside the home of Anthony King on the west side of Detroit, Feb. 19, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  8. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Atty. Jerome Goldberg speaking to WDIV TV on behalf of the tenants at Highland Towers, Sept. 3, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  9. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Gene Cunningham, a Detroit Realtor, cheers during the rally in Lansing, Michigan on Sept. 17, 2008, Sept. 17, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  10. Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr: Nikki Curl, Rubie Curl-Pinkins and Debbie Williams in front of the Pinkins home on Detroit's west side, August 22, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 10, 2011)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Moratorium NOW!: Endorsers of Senate Bill 1306 (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  12. Emerging Minds: Michigan Activist Continue Building Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions , May 26, 2008 (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)
  13. 13.0 13.1 People's Summit website (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)
  14. B MOR Creeeative on Flickr: Jessie Jackson @ People's Summit, June 16, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Pan-African News Wire File on Flickr: Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, introducing Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, June 16, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Pan-African News Wire File on Flickr: Mike Martinez of FIST, Baldemar Valaquez of FLOC, Ignacio Meneses of the US-Cuba Labor Exchange and Rosendo Delgado of Latinos Unidos, June 14, 2009 (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)
  17. Workers World: Foreclosure fighter honored, Feb 25, 2010 (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)