OAKLAND — In a significant show of support for one of the city’s most controversial recent movements, at least 100 people gathered Monday at the West Oakland home taken over by Moms 4 Housing activists, protesting the group’s imminent eviction.
A group of supporters linked arms in front of the house, forming a human chain deputies would have to break before evicting the occupants inside. Other supporters gathered behind them on the house’s front steps, prepared to risk arrest to stand with Moms 4 Housing.
After the group lost a key court case Friday, the sheriff’s office could come at any time this week to force the squatters out of the house.
“We are practicing nonviolent civil disobedience,” said Moms 4 Housing founder Dominique Walker, who is living in the Magnolia Street house with her children, ages 1 and 5, along with several other women and their children. “We are not running. We are staying here. We are not aggressors, but we are not running away either.”
Members of Moms 4 Housing — a group of homeless and insecurely housed women — moved into the empty, investor-owned house Nov. 18 without permission to call attention to the city’s homelessness crisis and the role they say speculators play in keeping people unhoused. The property owner, real estate company Wedgewood, filed an eviction notice and has asked the squatters to leave voluntarily.
This morning dozens of supporters are outside the West Oakland house @moms4housing took over in Nov., ready to risk arrest if the sheriff’s office comes to evict the group. Eviction could happen anytime. @EastBayTimes @mercnews pic.twitter.com/MFpYrJY4qK
— Marisa Kendall (@MarisaKendall) January 13, 2020
The controversial group has taken Oakland by storm, even garnering support from some Oakland city councilmembers, even while prompting condemnation from some community members who say the activists are stealing.
Carroll Fife, regional director of the nonprofit Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, on Monday said the work Moms 4 Housing is doing is not just about giving Walker and the other women a place to live. The group argues investors should not be allowed to buy homes in Oakland and keep them empty while thousands of people lack shelter, and hopes to drive speculators out of the city.
“The sheriff’s office, Wedgewood — none of that is going to stop the movement,” Fife said. “This house is just an emblematic starting point.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Business