CAMBRIDGE, MA – On Wednesday, April 25, three Massachusetts families confronted Chase Bank, which is attempting to force them from their homes. Hailing from Framingham, Lynn and Brockton, the families were joined by upwards of 100 community allies in front of the financial giant's Cambridgeside Galleria "Home Mortgage Center" in a last-ditch effort to stop their unnecessary evictions. By the end of the night two protesters were arrested.
Like millions of families across the country, Gerardo and Blanca Ortiz fell victim to the economic crisis when a layoff placed their already-ballooning mortgage payments out of reach. Similar job losses and family emergencies forced Shirley Thomas, Celeste Rivera and Santiago Garcia into foreclosure. Rivera and Garcia made trial payments for half of a year before being denied a modification.
All three families now have sufficient income to afford their homes at current value. Each of the families has been approved for a loan by a Boston non-profit. The non-profit has offered to purchase the homes from Chase at real value, with the intention of selling back to the current residents. In each case, Chase has either rebuffed or ignored the offers, despite the non-profit’s repeated efforts to keep the families in their homes.
Left with no other choice after letters and calls garnered no serious response, the families decided to bring their cases directly to a Chase office.
Chase representatives stalled for close to two hours. They asked for time to talk to superiors with more authority. Finally, they made Chase's position clear: they called the police and two protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing. As the arrestees were led away in handcuffs, members of the crowd made their commitment to continue the struggle clear with chants of, "What do when the banks attack? Stand up, fight back!"