I saw in a vice presidential candidate moved to tears. Cheri Honkala of the Green Party stood in front of the Cruz home being defended by Occupy Homes MN calling on the million people who will be foreclosed upon in the year to stay in their homes.
The Cruz home has been the longest and toughest fight of the Occupy Homes MN movement. PNC Banks online banking system glitched and did not deduct the automatic withdrawal that was set up. The bank charged fees the family couldn’t afford and foreclosed on the home. Over 6 months ago the Cruz family contacted Occupy Homes MN.
Since then 24 peaceful defenders have been arrested, others assaulted, pepper sprayed, and stepped on. Occupy Homes MN and the Cruzes have traveled to PNC bank headquarters in Pittsburg and to Washington pressing their case. The city of Minneapolis as spent nearly as much money on police and in court than the home is worth as their story has become a national one.
The press conference/rally updated the Cruz’s home situation stating PNC Bank wants to sign a new mortgage with the Cruz family but Fannie and Freddie are trying to sell the home to anyone but them. Nightly vigils are being held at the Cruz home. Occupy Homes MN also shared the quick success that Caylin received in her fight for her home.
Then Cheri Honkala took the steps of the Cruz home. Flanked by her Nieces and Nephew she prepared to speak to the crowd like she had done hundreds of times before. Before she could get the first word out, her throat clenched and lip quivered. Standing not more than 5 blocks from where her sister’s home is being foreclosed upon and in the city where 25 years ago she along with her 9 year old son became homeless she was speechless.
The yard was strangely quiet for that moment. Some were just realizing who it was in front of us as an “It’s OK” flowed in. The second round of applause that followed brought Cheri back to the present and she shared her story of fighting for the poor and homeless for 25 years and now on the Green party ticket with Jill Stein.
“We can end homelessness.” Cheri said, “There are more vacant homes then there are homeless in the US.” She ended offering all the help she can to the Cruz family and anyone else fighting to stay in their home.
Standing there streaming this event I was reminded of all the people who I have seen in the past year of Occupy standing up in front of similar crowds and telling their story. See them vow to continue the fight that has been put in front of them and their reaction as others willing to stand up and fight with them. When people stand together for what they believe in there is nothing more powerful.
More about Occupy Homes MN and the Cruz family
Cheri Honkala’s bio