May 4, 2012 – 8:30pm
The stories of five families on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis will be projected onto the seats of financial power – the corporate bank offices that have robo-signed away Americans’ homes, used illegal predatory lending practices to target people of color and immigrants, and pushed thousands of families below the poverty line.
Each of the stories – public letters written by members of City Life/Vida Urbana who are being foreclosed by Bank of America – will cover the front wall of three Bank of America buildings downtown. This will be an opportunity for Boston residents, neighbors, and supporters to confront Bank of America with the human costs of its practices, and to recognize the efforts of families most affected by the financial crisis. The voices of the movement will be amplified and made publicly visible on a scale not yet seen in Boston.
Following the projections, music producer and organizer M. Antonio Ennis will perform from his upcoming album, Bank Attack, which tells the story of the grassroots movement to fight displacement.
Organized by City Life/Vida Urbana and artist John Hulsey, the event kicks off a week of actions that will culminate in Charlotte, NC, on May 9. City Life and other Right to the City National Alliance members and thousands of homeowners will gather at the Bank of America shareholders’ meeting in Charlotte to demand that Wall Street banks be held accountable to the public. They will make the demand for principal reduction on underwater loans, an end to no-fault evictions, the acceptance of rent from families post-foreclosure, and the sale of homes back to families at real market value.
Join us for an evening of protest and celebration to send our friends and neighbors off to Charlotte!
8:30pm – Copley Square (opening event)
Meet at corner of Boylston St. and Dartmouth St.
March, vigil, and projection of Letters
Performance by M. Antonio Ennis.
9:30pm – near South Station
Meet at entrance to T & we will walk to projection site.
Projection of Letters in the heart of Boston’s financial district.
10:30pm – near Dudley Square
Meet at corner of Washington St. and Dudley St.
Projection onto bank branch office accompanied by impromptu street party to wrap up the evening!
Come for one or more portions of the evening!
Alerts and notifications
Since this is a moving event, there will be several ways of joining us over the course of the evening.
Meet us at our kick-off site at Copley between 8:30pm-9:15pm and join us for the rest of the evening.
Follow us on Facebook (Letters to Bank of America) for up-to-the-minute announcements on the day of the event.
To sign up for last-minute text message alerts, please contact Susie (205) 319-0231 or John (857) 756-9605
John Hulsey --
More about Letters to Bank of America
At 8:30pm, on Friday, May 4, the public gathers at Copley Square in downtown Boston and is led to the site of the projection.
From a distance, voices of women and men speaking about their homes can be heard. One man talks about mentoring tough kids on his block. Another woman speaks about having a safe place for her foster children. As they speak, handwriting appears on the wall, spelling out the reasons why these former owners are refusing to leave their homes.
Every day, tenants and homeowners write letters to their banks asking for principal reduction or loan modification. They ask to pay rent to avoid displacement. Every day, these letters fall on deaf ears. Banks move to evict. They refuse to accept rent. On May 4, the people of the city of Boston will call for the banks to listen by presenting the stories of working class families in such a way that they cannot be ignored.
Letters to Bank of America draws inspiration from City Life member Drusilla Francis, who writes in her letter: “I have an investment in my community that is beyond words.” The projection of these words onto Bank of America’s offices pries open the contradiction between the financial institution’s investment practices and the lived investments of homeowners in their neighborhoods and communities.
About the organizers
Founded in 1973, City Life/Vida Urbana (www.clvu.org) is a Boston-based community organization fighting for racial, social and economic justice. Since 2007, CL/VU has been a national leader in the fight against foreclosures in working class and poor communities. It has built a popular movement using a model of foreclosure resistance that has spread nationally. The stories featured in Letters to Bank of America are the voices of this movement.
Artist John Hulsey (www.jhulsey.net) designed Letters to Bank of America in collaboration with members of City Life and has worked on site-specific projects with City Life to amplify the stories of those fighting for their homes. Previous projects have been featured online and in print, including The New York Times:https://www.nytimes.com/
M. Antonio Ennis is a music producer, designer, and community organizer. His words are featured in Letters. A recent article about Ennis’ organizing and music can be found in the Boston Phoneix:http://thephoenix.com/boston/
Susie Husted, City Life ally, is event coordinator for May 4. City Life leaders and organizers Marshall Cooper, Reginald Fuller, Anthony Oates, and Barbara Lewis form the planning committee.