Housing is a Human Right: From the Streets to the Powerful

Housing is a Human Right: From the Streets to the Powerful

A video of the Housing is a Human Right march and rally that challenged the City of Rochester and pushed the housing justice movement even further.

The growth of the housing justice in the U.S. through both the Occupy Movement and the various anti-foreclosure campaigns that became commonplace after the first wave of evictions in 2008 has lead to arguments over both tactics and goals. The use of direct action has become commonplace not for ideological reasons, but for the fact that it became a practical solution for real problems now occurring in average communities. At the same time, these were often being coupled with policy demands from progressive organizations nationally, often times taking both approaches in any given area.

This two-fold strategy is what helped to mobilize the anti-foreclosure work in Rochester, New York. Take Back the Land Rochester has been active for several years, taking inspiration for Max Rameau's efforts starting in Miami. After several high profile housing liberations and foreclosure campaigns, including several wins that defied expectations up until that point, the use of direct action became a common sense approach to the growing issues of homelessness and poverty in this post-rustbelt city. Inspired by this work, Metro Justice instituted a housing committee to begin working on several policy demands and to support the work of Take Back the Land. Metro Justice has been a member supported non-profit for almost fifty years, becoming a staple of the progressive and radical communities of the area. The primary demand of their housing committee was to call for a moratorium on foreclosure based evictions, forcing the police department to stand down and render the eviction orders functionally useless. It was this demand that allowed for a large coalition of support and the large Housing is a Human Right march that they called. Though put directly in line with the moratorium campaign, the march brought together a larger focus to housing injustice as many organizations came together to march and confront city officials about what was happening in this city. As entire streets become empty of inhabitants in the city, the numbers of houseless individuals and families have become so massive that all institutional services have become exhausted. Together, this coalition forced the city to respond to the crises and helped to launch a growing, and multi-faced, housing justice movement in the city that is only growing and evolving.

This is a video of the march, some of the speakers that helped spark the event in the beginning, and a snapshot of the various speeches as the crowd took over the city council chambers. It is also a piece of the larger Expect Resistance documentary project.

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Eviction Free Zone
Sep 5 2013 07:47

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