Racial Politics Last Week - A Roundup

Brought to you by Jack Tuner of Jack & Jill Politics whilst cooking one tasty meal.

I figured my first turn at the racial roundup post should be inspired by an extra black authenticity. Thus, it is one day late! CP Time, yall. CP Time. Here we go:

Is Tupac's home changin?
Booker Rising discusses the declining black population of Oakland, CA and the impact on black businesses. Berkeley's North Gate News provides the context:

Barnett, who lives in East Oakland, has considered moving to the suburbs. He said he understands why people go. "People are leaving because it's so hard in Oakland right now," he said. "There are few jobs, high crime, and the schools are horrible. People want to go somewhere where their kids have a chance."
Sounds like "Black Flight" to me, and it's hard to blame folks, but some see a solution in joining up. From the same article:

Other black businesses have even joined the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, further downstate...

Black folks try to give Heismann to brown folks
The Daily Breeze is reporting about attempts from some black residents in Gardena, CA to block a Latino market from coming to town.

About 75 neighbors packed the Gardena council chambers on Tuesday night to express opposition to the Numero Uno Market slated for the corner of Rosecrans and Normandie avenues.

"Everything coming into Gardena on our side is in Spanish," resident Dorothy Dawson said. "I thought we were in America."

That's funny, Sista Dorothy. I'm pretty sure white folks said the same thing about your people when yall decided to leave the plantations.

There's more...

Notice to Sexually Predatory Landlords - It's Legal to Sexually Harass Your Tenants

Imagine an [18 year old] single woman of limited means living with her two children in an apartment complex. The resident manager would like to go out with her or, to put it less euphemistically, would like to have a sexual relationship with her. Initially, he approaches the matter subtly by complimenting the woman on her appearance and offering to do special maintenance favors for her. Eventually, he asks her out. When she refuses, he becomes verbally hostile, calling her a "tease" and a "bitch." Thereafter, he threatens to evict her unless she has sex with him. The threat is not carried out, but the manager is now unpleasant in his exchanges with the tenant. She tries to avoid seeing him around the apartment complex, but when he comes to her unit to collect the rent, he often makes crude or sexually suggestive remarks such as "you could make this pay day so much nicer for both of us."

Do the nation's fair housing laws prohibit any or all of what the manager has done in this situation?  

To date, the courts have generally answered "no."

 
- Robert G. Schwemm & Rigel C. Oliveri, Article: A New Look at Sexual Harassment under the Fair Housing Act  

There's more...

Katrina Survivors Have a Right to Return Home

Katrina Survivors Have a Right to Return Home

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org
Email: gogreens@gp.org
Green Party: Hurricane Katrina information
http://www.gp.org/katrina2005/

New Orleans development should ensure Katrina survivors stable homes, not displacement, say Greens.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders joined the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign and other supporters of Katrina survivors in urging FEMA to provide viable and affordable transitional and long-term housing for people displaced by last year's hurricanes.

"FEMA has been stringing along Gulf Coast evacuees, holding the threat of homelessness over their heads," said Steve Kramer, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "We're glad that, under public pressure, FEMA has extended deadlines for the temporary provision of shelter in hotels and trailers, but what evacuees want now is to regain stability and secure housing, and to reunite with their families and communities in New Orleans and other towns in the Gulf Coast from which they were forced to flee."

Many Greens support H.R. 4197, "The Hurricane Reclamation, Recovery, Reconstruction and Relief" Act for comprehensive assistance to enable all Katrina survivors to return and rebuild their communities. The bill was introduced by all 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"Katrina survivors need protection from price-gouging when they return to rented houses and apartments, and they need a guarantee that post-hurricane development will not drive them out of their homes," said Sundiata Tellem, Co-Chair of the Black Caucus of the Green Party of the United States. "We're especially alarmed at growing indications that New Orleans' African American population -- the major source of the New Orleans' unique traditions and culture -- is being excluded from plans to restore the city. And last I'd checked, many of the African- American populations of Georgia, Missisippi, and Alabama were sent to 20 states from which they surely won't have to pay to get back home."

Mayor C. Ray Nagin's 'Bring New Orleans Back' commission proposes that residents of districts most heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina will have four months to demonstrate strong support for rebuilding their neighborhoods, or be forced to sell to the government.

"Mayor Nagin's scheme would banish low-income and black residents, and turn New Orleans into a feeding trough for wealthy and chiefly white development interests," said Leenie Halbert, Green Party activist and former resident of New Orleans.

On March 14, 2006, a protest organized by the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign against Katrina evictions will take place in Washington, D.C., beginning with a press conference at 1:00 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building (Room #2237) and continuing with a Mardi Gras Style March for Justice at 2:00 p.m. beginning at the Capitol South Metro Station and continuing to the White House, where a rally will take place at 3:00 p.m.

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

There's more...

A Meeting at the White House on Homeownership

Last week I attended a meeting at the White House with Obama administration officials on the housing and homeownership crisis. I joined 150 faith, civil rights, consumer protection, and community leaders from around the country to express the urgency of the crisis, share our stories, and promote practical solutions.

In a loud, clear voice we expressed the pressing reality of this crisis for families, communities, and our nation, with 2 million foreclosure filings this year, and millions more at risk. Another 15 million American homeowners are underwater—meaning that their home is worth less than they owe on their mortgage. And after years of predatory lending and mass foreclosures, a scourge of vacant properties, devastated home values, and impaired credit litter too many communities.

Participants shared their own stories, and those of neighbors, congregants and constituents struggling with abuse by banks and servicers. They included Brigitte Walker of Georgia, an Iraq War veteran who addressed the group. Ms. Walker was driven to the brink of foreclosure after an injury forced her to leave the military and sharply reduced her income. She detailed how her lender, Chase, repeatedly lost documents, gave her misinformation, bounced her around, and slated her home for foreclosure as she tried to negotiate a loan modification.

Ms. Walker was two weeks away from losing her home when Occupy Atlanta took up her case and began pushing Chase to negotiate. "They got everyday people like myself involved. Everyday people contacting Chase and advocating for me, peaceful demonstrations, people calling and writing in," Walker told a local news station at the time.

Just a few days later, Chase called back and struck a deal with Walker that allowed her to keep her home and make reasonable mortgage payments going forward. When she finished telling her story at the White House, Ms. Walker received a standing ovation.

Administration officials listened, and also detailed the considerable steps that the Executive Branch has taken to address the crisis, from establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to encouraging refinancing and loan modifications, to joining 49 state attorneys general in a national mortgage settlement with five major banks. None disputed, however, that those steps have been insufficient, so far, to address the scale of this crisis.

They pointed out, correctly, that a gridlocked Congress has thwarted many bolder solutions, like forcing consideration of principal reduction for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or redirecting unused TARP funds toward housing counseling. That’s why, as planned, many of the participants headed to Capitol Hill after the White House meeting to urge members of Congress to take action of their own. An existing priority for many is the Expanding Refinancing Opportunities Act of 2012, a bill to allow more homeowners the chance to refinance mortgages with insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

But the officials also candidly acknowledged something important: that many of the steps that the Administration has taken have come because social movements and everyday Americans have demanded them. That’s why we’ll be stepping up our activism, and ramping up our demands.

The Home for Good campaign, Home Defenders LeagueOccupy Our Homes, and Home Is Where the Vote Is have been pushing, separately and in collaboration, for bolder and more effective action—from the White House, Congress, cities and states, and the banks and financial industry. We seek an end to needless foreclosures, restoration of devastated communities, investment in affordable housing, and accountability on Wall Street. And we have concrete, proven solutions to offer that are rooted in research and experience around the country.

Now is the time to turn up the heat on our elected officials for home opportunity solutions. In our democratic system, that’s how change gets made.

There's more...

A Meeting at the White House on Homeownership

Last week I attended a meeting at the White House with Obama administration officials on the housing and homeownership crisis. I joined 150 faith, civil rights, consumer protection, and community leaders from around the country to express the urgency of the crisis, share our stories, and promote practical solutions.

In a loud, clear voice we expressed the pressing reality of this crisis for families, communities, and our nation, with 2 million foreclosure filings this year, and millions more at risk. Another 15 million American homeowners are underwater—meaning that their home is worth less than they owe on their mortgage. And after years of predatory lending and mass foreclosures, a scourge of vacant properties, devastated home values, and impaired credit litter too many communities.

Participants shared their own stories, and those of neighbors, congregants and constituents struggling with abuse by banks and servicers. They included Brigitte Walker of Georgia, an Iraq War veteran who addressed the group. Ms. Walker was driven to the brink of foreclosure after an injury forced her to leave the military and sharply reduced her income. She detailed how her lender, Chase, repeatedly lost documents, gave her misinformation, bounced her around, and slated her home for foreclosure as she tried to negotiate a loan modification.

Ms. Walker was two weeks away from losing her home when Occupy Atlanta took up her case and began pushing Chase to negotiate. "They got everyday people like myself involved. Everyday people contacting Chase and advocating for me, peaceful demonstrations, people calling and writing in," Walker told a local news station at the time.

Just a few days later, Chase called back and struck a deal with Walker that allowed her to keep her home and make reasonable mortgage payments going forward. When she finished telling her story at the White House, Ms. Walker received a standing ovation.

Administration officials listened, and also detailed the considerable steps that the Executive Branch has taken to address the crisis, from establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to encouraging refinancing and loan modifications, to joining 49 state attorneys general in a national mortgage settlement with five major banks. None disputed, however, that those steps have been insufficient, so far, to address the scale of this crisis.

They pointed out, correctly, that a gridlocked Congress has thwarted many bolder solutions, like forcing consideration of principal reduction for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or redirecting unused TARP funds toward housing counseling. That’s why, as planned, many of the participants headed to Capitol Hill after the White House meeting to urge members of Congress to take action of their own. An existing priority for many is the Expanding Refinancing Opportunities Act of 2012, a bill to allow more homeowners the chance to refinance mortgages with insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

But the officials also candidly acknowledged something important: that many of the steps that the Administration has taken have come because social movements and everyday Americans have demanded them. That’s why we’ll be stepping up our activism, and ramping up our demands.

The Home for Good campaign, Home Defenders LeagueOccupy Our Homes, and Home Is Where the Vote Is have been pushing, separately and in collaboration, for bolder and more effective action—from the White House, Congress, cities and states, and the banks and financial industry. We seek an end to needless foreclosures, restoration of devastated communities, investment in affordable housing, and accountability on Wall Street. And we have concrete, proven solutions to offer that are rooted in research and experience around the country.

Now is the time to turn up the heat on our elected officials for home opportunity solutions. In our democratic system, that’s how change gets made.

There's more...

Diaries

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