Since last fall, Occupy Minnesota activists have defended the houses of two Minneapolis homeowners facing foreclosure — Monique White in North Minneapolis and ex-Marine Bobby Hull in South Minneapolis. In doing so, they’ve helped galvanize a growing Occupy Homes movement nationwide.
Now Minnesota homeowners are beginning to pledge en masse to resist bank foreclosures and stay in their homes. At a rally at Hull’s house on Friday night, five new homeowners pledged to fight the system and, if necessary, resist eviction with the help of local Occupy activists. They included Vietnam veteran John Vinje and his wife Lucinda Adams-Vinje who live in Bloomington, Minn., Frank from Coon Rapids, Ruby Brown in North Minneapolis, and Colleen Espinosa, whose son Nick is a well-known Occupy activist.
At a rally Monday at the Vinje household, John Vinje pledged that he wouldn’t leave before U.S. Bank either negotiated with him or put him in his coffin. “I’m mad at U.S. Bank because they lied to their mortgage customers,” said Vinje. “They lied to various levels of government, they falsified documents, they ignored court orders, and yet they’re still allowed to foreclose on customers’ homes.” Read more about the Vinjes’ story here.
“I grew up in a family that was always on the edge of foreclosure, and a month into this Occupy Homes work, my family got a letter for a sheriff’s sale,” said Nick Espinosa. “The first thing my mom said was, ‘you’re not coming to occupy my house’. But she sat down with other people in foreclosure, like Monique, like Bobby Hull, like Ruby, people who are standing up and fighting back, and she started to think, ‘maybe I shouldn’t be ashamed of this, maybe it’s not my fault’.” Maybe it’s the banks’ fault that this is happening, and maybe I need to do something about this.”
Meanwhile, the Occupy Homes movement believes that a victory against U.S. Bank is imminent. Bobby Hull (who has received international media exposure for his struggle) received a call from U.S. Bank last week informing him that they the rally on Friday night wouldn’t be a farewell party and that the bank wished to renegotiate with him.