Media: Residents and supporters set up eviction blockade at Cabrini Green

18 11 2009

Tenants: Evictions in the midst of bank bail-outs and economic crisis are unacceptable and immoral

by Willie J.R. Fleming and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle – SF Bay View

When the Cook County Sheriff’s Department arrives to evict Cabrini Green resident Lenise Forrest and her family Tuesday morning, they will be confronted and prevented from doing so by residents and supporters from around the city. Lenise Forrest has been a resident of Cabrini Green for 19 years. She has worked in the community for 12 years, including three years working for Holsten Development moving residents into the new mixed-income community. Now she is about to be moved out – onto the street.
Both elderly and young women and men will put their bodies between the sheriff and Ms. Forrest’s apartment and refuse to allow her and her family to be made homeless. The confrontation will mark the launching of a Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign whose message and goals are summarized as “while the rich get bailed out, we will not allow the poor to be put out.”

Ms. Forrest, who has been called a “model citizen” by Alderman Burnett, was on a payment plan under the previous management for the back rent that she owes. The new management company, however, has been unwilling to accept her payments or to recognize the payment plan, preferring to proceed with an eviction. The eviction is currently being appealed, but the Sheriff’s department informed Ms. Forrest that the appeal does not affect their order to evict her and her family this Tuesday.

Drawing inspiration from the recent visit of the South African Anti-Eviction Campaign, residents of Cabrini Green and other communities have decided to form their own Anti-Eviction Campaign to stop economically motivated evictions, especially given the current economic climate. Following the tactics of South Africa’s Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign has pledged to physically block the execution of evictions in order to keep people in their homes.

Willie J.R. Fleming of the Chicago Independent Human Rights Council Anti-Eviction Campaign can be reached at iamcabrini@gmail.com and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle at matcogi@gmail.com. J.R. asking for lawyers to join the blockade Tuesday and the Anti-Eviction Campaign.

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