by Jacquie Taliaferro
San Francisco – On Dec. 6 across the USA, many protests were staged against unfair banking practices. ACCE, Occupy Bernal and San Francisco NAACP Foreclosure Chairman Archbishop Franzo King, appointed by SF NAACP President Dr. Amos Brown, held a protest rally outside of the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point Wells Fargo Bank branch.
The Bayview, which was once 70 percent Black, has been increasingly fighting a high rate of foreclosures that is resulting in yet another form of gentrification. Wells Fargo Bank has been responsible for many of the foreclosures in the community.
At the rally I took time to talk with some of the bystanders to get a sense of their POV, point of view. A San Francisco social service office is located in Bayview Plaza, where Wells Fargo is located.
I asked one of the social workers, a Black woman, what she thought of the rally and handed her a flyer. “I am just happy to have a job and not be in that situation” was her response.
Another social worker standing next to her would not take the flyer and said with the Black security guard, “Those people are on private property – and most of them don’t look like they can afford a loan anyway.” I asked them, “How does a person that can afford a loan look?” Their answer: “Look at the way they are dressed.” As I observed, most of the protesters were dressed casually like most of the multimillionaires in Woodside and Silicon Valley. “The Millionaire Next Door” also affirms outside appearance is not always an indication of a person’s ability to “afford a loan.”
The front line exchange with the social workers and the guard reminded me of when I was visiting a NAACP member’s home and his white neighbor stopped by. We were watching TV and the topic of race came up. We went back and forth on this subject until we just decided to drop it. About five minutes later under his breath he said, “Blacks are so mean to each other.” We all acted like he did not say what we heard. Mostly we all just wanted to relax and we also knew that his statement is true. Willie Lynch theory came to mind, along with the documentation of how the Black slave overseers were harder on Black slaves than white overseers. This tendency of the oppressed to behave like the oppressor was seen in the World War II concentration camps and in a study at Stanford.
The flyer I tried to share with them was about Wachovia’s admission to slavery trade roots. Wells Fargo obtained the holdings of Wachovia, which bought the loans of World Savings that dissolved after its predatory lending practices were too blatant to defend. There was no room to include the admission by Wells Fargo/Wachovia of drug money laundering. What a tangled web of financial greed, treachery and arrogance they have weaved. Bankers, lobbyists, and sleeping, careless or money-seeking lawmakers have entangled the American people as jobs are shipped off shore in such a way that the American dream of home ownership has been strangled.
Even the New York Times has indicated that the banking industry is disingenuous when it comes to helping distressed homeowners in an editorial published Nov. 22, “More Questions About Mortgage Relief.”
Aside from the laws and policies that prefer the banking corporations above the individual homeowners, there is the added problem of timing that prefers the corporations. As banks have trillions of dollars and time on their side, the individual besieged homeowner can be quickly removed from their home. Bush administration policies that changed the bankruptcy laws are of no use to many people. If they figure out at the last minute that they could file for bankruptcy, many are at a loss because the requirement to take a credit counseling class makes bankruptcy null and void. Bankruptcy is usually a stopgap measure, a limited means for homeowners to get some bearings to discover other strategies to fight off the powerful banks. Keep in mind many of the homeowners were duped by the banks’ predatory lending practices as indicated by their $26 billion “mea culpa” settlement with states across the nation.
The NAACP recently put out a nationwide communication about foreclosure assistance. If you or someone you know experienced foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, visit Independent Foreclosure Review to see if you qualify.
Here are other links for your consideration:
You can do your own search and take the time to speak to people about their foreclosure experience and not make assumptions as the social worker and guard did at the rally and protest. One story highlighted at the rally was a United Airlines worker fighting to have a foreclosure rescinded because of dual tracking – the bank saying it is working on a modification while at the same time foreclosing and auctioning off a home.
Also sad to note that as the unnecessary show of force from the San Francisco police department stood watch over the peaceful protesters, stories flowed from their rank that many of their fellow police officers and firefighters in San Francisco are in the midst of foreclosure.
If trillion dollar banks guilty of mortgage fraud, drug money laundering, slave trading and other financial atrocities can skate through the judicial system in a country built on justice and the importance of the individual, surely policies can be put into place to give the people of America a fair shake.
Help your neighbors by joining the Stop the Wells Fargo 27 Holiday Foreclosure and Evictions campaign. A phone call and/or email can make a difference in whether someone has a home for the holidays.
Jacquie Taliaferro, filmmaker and director of LaHitz Media and communications chair for the San Francisco NAACP, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 821-1111.
Occupy Our Homes takes on Wells Fargo Bayview Branch in San Francisco
by Occupy the Auctions
The protest was an amazing success as more than 60 organizers occupied and shut down the Bayview branch of Wells Fargo in San Francisco as part of a nationwide Occupy Our Homes anniversary day of actions. The protestors chanted, “Stop the Evictions, Stop the Foreclosures,” “Save the Wells 27” (click on the link to call and email in support of the 27 San Francisco families at risk of Wells Fargo foreclosures and evictions during the holiday season) and other slogans, as well as decorating the interior and exterior of the bank branch with crime scene tape, displaying banners and placards, and chalking body shapes and slogans on the sidewalk in front of the branch.
Wells Fargo security closed the bank branch and contacted the San Francisco Police Department and eventually the nonviolent protestors voluntarily departed from the bank branch after delivering demands to the bank manager. Then, a number of Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters and representatives from organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP) spoke to the crowd assembled in front of the branch and demanded an end to predatory foreclosures, short sales and evictions, as well as demanding that Wells Fargo provide fair deal loan modifications for all homeowners, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, have school-age children or life-threatening illnesses, during the holiday season and beyond.
Perhaps anticipating these protests, Wells Fargo announced yesterday that it will suspend foreclosure and eviction proceedings during the period from Dec. 19 to Jan. 2.
This story first appeared at Occupy the Auctions.
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