“Stop the Banks from Taking People’s Homes”

Two weeks ago when Minneapolis homeowner Monique called the gas company to come and light her furnace, she learned that her home had been foreclosed upon in January. The banks hadn’t even bothered to tell her. Now they want her to vacate the premises.

“I’m asking you guys to help me and to stop the banks from taking people’s homes from them,” Monique told a crowd of faith, labor and community activists who were rallying Tuesday outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Saint Paul, where the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce gathered for its annual meeting. “They said that they would modify to make it affordable for people to live in their homes, and they’re not doing it. It’s not fair.”

“When I lost my job I worked with the banks to try and keep my home,” Monique said, tearing up. “The holidays are coming. Where am I going to go? where’s my family going to go? Where is your family going to go if you lose your home?”

Inside the Crowne Plaza, executives including US Bank CEO Richard Davis (dubbed “Wall Street’s golden boy” by the New York Times) and Wells Fargo Executive Jon Campbell discussed profit margins, but outside as many as 100 demonstrators on the street heard from Monique and Sheronda and other homeowners facing foreclosure. The Twin Cities alternative weekly City Pages reported that at the Chamber meeting CEO Davis admonished the assembled business leaders to “get over it” in reference to the economic recession. “‘Everybody’s breaking the rules, blah blah blah,’” Davis added.

The “Stop Foreclosing on the American Dream” rally outside was coordinated by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, SEIU and ISAIAH, and joined by Occupy MN activists.

“Big banks like Wells Fargo and USBank need to pay their fair share to contribute to a future of shared prosperity for all and take positive steps to fix the foreclosure crisis,” said the Rev. Grant Stevensen, the Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and President of ISAIAH. ”The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has spent millions lobbying for job-killing cuts to critical services while opposing paying their fair share.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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