As a staff and coalition of housing justice organizations rooted in BIPOC communities, we are crushed & angered by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, David McAtee, Sean Monterrosa, George Forbes, Rayshard Brooks, Rem’mie Fells, Riah Milton, & so many more, and by the unending brutality that police have inflicted on Black Lives Matter protests all over the country. Many of us have been in the streets this month, and we are also inspired by an uprising of working-class power and solidarity with Black struggle that is truly unprecedented in our lifetimes. Here’s how we are committed to supporting it, and you.
We will fight to cancel rents and mortgages. Tenants Together formed in 2008, as waves of predatory foreclosures swept many families, especially Black families, from their homes. The same Wall Street bankers who exploited mortgages then expropriated Black wealth and property, turned it into rental housing, and then exploited tenants. As we speak, BIPOC communities are disproportionately targeted by a wave of evictions, job losses, and inability to make rent and mortgage payments. We have seen this before, and we will fight to cancel rent and mortgage debts to make sure we never go back.
We will fight lockouts and evictions executed with police force. The very same machinery of state violence that destroys and devalues Black lives is used to throw California tenants out onto the street day after day. Right now, police and sheriffs are being called in during a pandemic to throw out Californians sheltering in place. We will train, organize, and support Californians to fight back against oppressive and illegal evictions by force, especially in Black and brown communities where one 911 call can become a death sentence.
We will fight budget austerity that puts police and prisons before the human right to housing. Amid the COVID-19 crisis and economic collapse, Governor Newsom’s proposed budget slashes housing and homelessness funding to the bone, while keeping tens of billions in police and prison funding intact. For decades, prisons have been used as a replacement for housing, and police to replace investment in working-class Black and brown communities. We will demand that our state and local governments defund police and the prison-industrial complex and invest in just shelter for all.
Please take care of the Black loved ones, partners, friends, families, coworkers, neighbors, and organizers in your life. If you are able, put your body on the line in solidarity, protest and organize. If you aren’t, demand justice and accountability from your elected officials. We are here to support and build YOUR power; we are ready to fight with you no matter what’s next.
Love and solidarity,
If you can, donate to these California-based organizations:
- the Transgender Law Center’s Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project
- The Ella Baker Center
- Initiate Justice
- Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Bail Fund