Yesterday morning, Occupy Our Homes DC rallied 50 people in an attempt to save Dawn Butler’s home in Northeast DC from eviction at the hands of JP Morgan Chase, which has foreclosed on Ms. Butler’s landlord. Under DC law, tenants have the right to purchase their homes when their landlords are in foreclosure, but Ms. Butler was never allowed to exercise this right, despite expressing interest in buying the house A rally in April had delayed a previous eviction attempt long enough for Ms. Butler to secure a stay, but that order was lifted on Monday night. Although police expressed reservation about moving forward with the eviction on Tuesday, a representative from the bank insisted insisted that Ms. Butler be removed immediately.
Chase’s demands resulted in a violent outburst from the U.S. Marshals leading the eviction. Several people were assaulted, and Marc Smith, who had locked himself to the door of the home and to another protester, was choked and beaten unconscious.
“I feel happy about the action today because it showed others in DC that they do not need to lose their homes and that they can resist non-violently,” said Smith. “However, I feel extremely sad that we did not succeed in saving Dawn’s home. But we will continue our struggle with Dawn in hopes In regaining her home, as well as working in other housing struggles.”
There is ample evidence that this was an improper foreclosure, and both Ms. Butler and her landlord intend to continue with civil action against Chase. Meanwhile Occupy Our Homes DC will continue to fight alongside residents of the Washington metro area who are facing eviction. As a result of Tuesday’s actions, multiple other evictions were delayed and a powerful message was delivered: people will not be shamed into silence while their homes are stolen, this community will stand behind them, and the banks who would profit off misery and displacement can expect mass resistance.