Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PROTEST BANK OF AMERICA Copley Sq. Boston 4/29 5 - 6 pm

Why we are here at Bank of America Protesting!


·        Workers didn’t cause this economic crisis—but we sure are paying the price. We’re getting foreclosed on, laid off, and the CEO’s are making millions.

·        Taxpayers have had enough, bank workers have had enough, and its time to make some real changes if we are going to create an economy that works for everyone again.

·        B of A takes our taxpayer money and pays themselves bonuses. And still have the nerve to fight the rest of us getting a fair share by fighting Employee Free Choice Act, credit card protections, and foreclosure victim protection. Reforms that would help our economy.

·        Bank of America took $45 billion in taxpayer bailouts which makes us the largest shareholders. Then, after taking our money, they announced plans to lay off 35,000 workers ¾ but still paid $5.2 billion in corporate bonuses.

·        B of A CEO Ken Lewis took home close to $35 million over the last 2 years. But the average bank teller makes $22,000 a year, barely above the poverty line. That is just plain wrong. 

·        Ken Lewis and other CEOs like things the way they are. They get rich at our expense. And they don’t want that to stop. That’s why they’re fighting Employee Free Choice Act that would help put money in working people’s pockets. Today, I’m here to say that business as usual is over for big bad banks.  

·        Bank of America made millions off of risky loan and deceptive practices, and as a result is one of the largest holder of foreclosed properties and is responsible for evicting thousands of people across our state.


What we want:


·        We need Congress to act now to hold banks & these CEO’s accountable. Banks can’t be allowed to use our tax dollars to fight against:

  • The Employee Free Choice Act that will give workers a voice on the job and better wages and benefits.
  • We want an end to foreclosures and evictions
  • Real banking reform that will stop banks from doing the things that got us into this mess in the first place and make sure they can’t rip us off with high interest rates and forcing their employees to sell us products we don’t need.
    Access to quality & affordable health care for every single person living in this country.

·        Workers in America need an economy that works for everyone.  Not more of the same.


Steve Meacham 4.29.09



Monday, April 27, 2009

City Life/Vida Urbana Receives Award From the National Community Reinvestment Coalition

On March 13, 2009 City Live/Vida Urbana received the James Rouse Award for outstanding work by an urban non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. at the annual National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) dinner.  The award was presented by the Rev. Jesse Jackson who spoke at the event.  Roxan McKinnon, Steve Meacham and Melonie Griffiths accepted the award on behalf of City Life/Vida Urbana.

Following are the remarks of Nadine Cohen, of Greater Boston Legal Services, who introduced the City Life/Vida Urbana awardees:

It is my great pleasure to present the James Rouse Award for most outstanding non-profit organization to City Life/Vida Urbana from Boston, MA.  CL/VU is one of the most innovative, effective and kick-ass grass roots organizations in the country.  Begun in 1973 in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, they have been involved in tenant organizing, the struggle to preserve affordable housing, organizing against racism and for community control of public resources. 

CLVU has played a major role in the current foreclosure crisis - trying to stop foreclosures and eviction in Boston’s neighborhoods.  They bring together tenants facing eviction and homeowners facing foreclosure to support each other and to develop effective strategies to keep people in their homes.  They hold eviction blockades where they bring out community members to surround the homes of the tenants being evicted, preventing the constables from carrying out the evictions.  In 2008 they were successful in preventing 11 out of 14 evictions.  They got arrested in 3 of the blockades, but because of the all the bad publicity for the lenders, and the support for the tenants, those too were victories.

In addition to helping tenants and homeowners negotiate the sales of their homes after foreclosure – sometimes at half their pre-foreclosure value – CLVU also holds public protests against Bank of America, protesting their unfair foreclosure policies.  City Life/Vida Urbana has recently begun to surround foreclosed homes with crime scene tape saying, “White collar crime scene.”  They are a strong and consistent voice against predatory lending and unfair foreclosures.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined non-conformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”

It is my honor to present the James Rouse Award for outstanding work by an urban non-profit organization to City Life/Vida Urbana – very disciplined non-conformists, who stand up for what is right and who lead the way by their actions.

Nadine Cohen

Managing Attorney

Consumer Rights Unit

Greater Boston Legal Services


Friday, April 10, 2009

City Life/Vida Urbana On Bill Moyers Journal

CL/VU will be featured on Bill Moyers Journal. The projected date of airing is May 1. A producer was onsite for much of a week in March filming and interviewing.

The Bill Moyers Journal is aired on PBS. In the Boston area on WGBH Channel 2 at 9PM. (there are other times when it repeats)

~will be interesting to see how “the Journal” interprets CL/VU’s work and what kind of story is told in this very well respected, award winning program.

Congrats to everyone at CL/VU for doing the work and occasionally getting some recognition! It makes a difference!

People before profit!

Viewers of the Journal are encouraged to post comments and to contact CL/VU using the contact info in the sidebar.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eviction Blockades

Dear friends,
    City Life maintains a list of families in foreclosed buildings who we will defend, if necessary, by eviction blockades.  Several families are on our eviction blockade list at this time.  We hope that a blockade won't be necessary.
    One good reason there have been no recent blockades is that the Banks are backing down in the face of pressure.  Two weeks ago we began to organize a blockade for Mr. Freeman.  This gentleman has lived all his life in his home in Grove Hall.  He takes care of his disabled uncle and mom and his 3-year old daughter.  He started a juice bar for area teens to visit, a safe place to go without alcohol or drugs.  Faced with the possibility of an eviction blockade, Wells Fargo backed off.  There are negotiations now to enable Mr. Freeman to repurchase his home at its real value (half loan value).
    Three times (out of 15 organized blockades), the banks have succeeded in evicting our members.  But even those evictions have turned into movement victories for us.  Paula Taylor's eviction on September 5, 2008, has helped launch a growing movement against Bank of America.  On March 22, Paula Taylor was a featured interview on Dateline NBC exposing bank practices.

Contact us at City Life if you would like to be on the Eviction Blockade email list.

Steve Meacham

City Life/Vida Urbana Director of Tenant Organizing

[submitted by Stewart L.]

Friday, April 3, 2009

Six Weeks of Bank of America Protest at Copley Complete- Watch for Next Actions

For six weeks in March and April, each Thursday afternoon from 4:00-6:00 PM, hearty souls gathered at the Bank of America in beautiful Copley Square, Boston to remind passersby and bank customers that while Bank of America accepted federal bail out funds, it is not serving the interests of our community. It evicts tenants of foreclosed properties without fault, and without the option of continuing to pay rent. Protesters chanted: "Banks get bailed out, people get thrown out."