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OGSO’s Occupy Foreclosure Working Group featured on the Rachel Maddow show

Last night Occupy Greensboro’s Foreclosure Working Group was featured along with Guilford County Registrar of Deeds Jeff Thigpen on MSNBC’s the Rachel Maddow Show. Guilford County is facing a crisis of fraudulent foreclosures and we are working to save people’s homes and our communities.

See the video below:

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General Assembly: March 20, 2012

Facilitator: Mo
Stack: Valerie W
Notetaker: Emiley J
Timekeeper: Matt D

Rules and hand signals

Announcements

Discussion:
Non-violent direct action around foreclosure
– Run down current foreclosure related events
– Things currently happening – timeline, ways people to plug in, needs assessment
– Events in the making

  1. Movie Premier
  2. Library to teach mortgage fraud
  3. April 6 “the House we live in” and discussion
  4. YWCA discussion on foreclosure
  5. Possible national press around local foreclosure

– support for movie follow-up
– many mortgage holders are not local. Not an easy place to put pressure
– leeway and creativity with number of people

Watch short videos on foreclosure

Reflections

General Assembly: March 18, 2012

Facilitator: Andrew S.
Stack keeper: Lynn J.
Notetaker: Julia K.

Introductions: we did name and how we’re feeling today.

Ground rules and Hand Signals.

Working group reports:

  • Foreclosure WG: Thank you for coming out to Wednesday’s screening of “Let’s Lose Our House.” 400 people. Groups are rapidly showing up for other screenings (Bobbie later told us, 3 groups confirmed, 8 other interested.) 2 people experiencing foreclosure have contacted the group, possibly wanting an occupy-style home defense. It’s complicated legally, so it remains to be seen what will be needed, but good for people to keep in mind this might happen.
  • Energy WG: Next meeting Wednesday, March 28th at 7pm. Information gained from canvassing in Glenwood is going to be turned into a radio drama series. There will be creative writing sessions, first one at Sessions (1820 Spring Garden), Friday, March 30th, 7-9pm. Next one Saturday, April 7th 5:30-7pm at Glenwood Coffee and Books.
  • Gardening WG: Had a well-attended workday in the Glenwood Community Garden today. Plans for some garden tours and a bottle-wall building event out in front of Glenwood Coffee and Books. Regular meeting times are 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, 1:30-3:30pm, but watch facebook and website for details and changes.
  • Media WG: Working on a forum on the website, will have more on that next week. Have skillshare workshops in things like writing a press release available for other working groups, contact the media group if you would like to schedule one.
  • Collective Access/Anti-Oppression WG: Meets every Friday, 5:30pm, at Glenwood Coffee and Books. Several upcoming events: At Glenwood Coffee and Books, a screening of “The House We Live In” April 6th at 7pm. At the Beloved Community Center, talk by Larry Morse, “Race Wealth and the Housing Crash” on April 19th at 6:30pm. At the Greensboro YWCA, a talk by Maria Rosales, “Women and Foreclosure,” on May 23rd at 6:30pm. Want these to be movement-building events.
  • Employment WG: Have been talking about setting up a computer station in Glenwood Coffee and Books where people could apply for jobs/work on resumes. Didn’t want to replicate the Interactive Resource Center’s efforts, but turns out IRC wants to set up satellite stations. Also considering a high schoolers/college students cooperative business for landscaping and oher services, to create meaningful work for students and get them involved in social justice work.

Announcements:

  • Update about Uriel’s case. He has been released, thanks to all the public pressure! Bond was set at $7,500, we believe that all the money has been raised. He is still facing deportation, so the fight is not over.
  • Last Tuesday’s GA did something different. Half the group went to go flyer, and the other half heard from someone about tax resistance, who is planning to come to next Sunday’s GA to talk more about tax resistance.
  • Looking for people who are working against Amendment One, who might be interested in tabling and/or participating in a talkback at Touring Theater of North Carolina‘s production of a play about Amendment One. See John K.
  • Glenwood Coffee & Books: Still cleaning up the space in the back. Please see Mo after meeting to help. Also, March 23rd-25th, The Vagina Monologues are being performed here. Money raised goes to the Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation. Also We Are (a group working against Amendment One) is putting on a show at the Blind Tiger. There’s a meeting tomorrow (Monday) at 7pm for folks, especially graphic designers, who want to be on a temporary media team for the event.
  • Occupy Open Mic at Glenwood Coffee and Books, March 29th at 7pm. Think about something you would like to share. See Nego.
  • Collecting pledges to vote against Amendment One for a birthday present. See whatiwantformybday.com. Also yard signs against Amendment One are available, please donate at least $2 to help cover costs if you take a yard sign. See Nego.
  • There is also an event about amendment one at Sedgefield Presbyterian Church next Sunday at 2pm.
  • There are pamphlets out front with a list of Amendment One events. If you are responsible for an event on there, PLEASE send Dave the info, so he can put it on the calendar, if you haven’t already done so (webmaster@occupygreensboro.org).
  • On March 20th, at 6:30 pm in Sanford, there is a chance to speak out against fracking. The Governor has changed her stance to be pro-fracking after going on an industry-sponsored trip. Say No to Fracking NC has more info about the event. Come early if you come, because lots of people are expected. Prepare for 3 minutes of speaking, if you want to speak. See Christine.

Proposals:

  • Proposal: Endorse the We Are event on April 28th. “Family Reunion” event with a carnival type atmosphere. Will need help/support before event, and boots on the ground. CONSENSUS.
    Additional suggestion: there is another event on the same date which OGSO has already endorsed, at the Beloved Community Center, a summit about the militarization of the police titled “Our Responsibility During the Collapse of Law.” Suggestion that there be mutual messages of support between events.
  • Proposal: Formalize “progressive stack.” A practice of moving forward people on the stack who have not spoken yet during the meeting, ahead of people who have already spoken. Clarification: Applies to the whole meeting, not just within particular discussions. Clarification: Some stack keepers have already used this, but formalizing it would mean that this is the typical way we will do stack. CONSENSUS.
  • Proposal: Endorse the call to protest the new jail in Greensboro. It opens May 1st. Protest is April 12th, 4:30-6:00 downtown on Edgeworth. Protest organizers are calling for endorsements. Discussion about why: organizers are coming from a perspective related to the book The New Jim Crow, as well as thinking about the school-to-prison pipeline. Organizations involved include Copwatch and the October 22nd coalition. Clarification: organizers are calling for this protest to be non-violent and peaceful. Clarification: endorsement means we may be listed in a press release as supportive. Information about the jail: it’s a county jail, not a for-profit jail, though the sheriff has stated he hopes that when the new jail opens, the old one can be used for federal inmates (who are likely to be immigrant detainees), and if this happens, the county will be paid by the federal government to house them. CONSENSUS.

Discussion points:

  • A 3rd party called the Justice Party, which wants to get the 99% into office. TABLED BY PROPOSER (lack of time).
  • Information and discussion about Fund for Democratic Communities, as this has been coming up on Facebook. TABLED BY PROPOSER (lack of time).
  • Debrief of Wednesday’s foreclosure event, and discussion about the potential of occupying houses to prevent foreclosure. DISCUSSED. Some details: 400+ people came. It was an experiment in organizing with different entry points. Also building relationships with organizations who have similar goals but a diversity of tactics. 30+ people signed up for a training on mortgage fraud detection. The story shared by the couple in the film facing foreclosure spoke to a lot of people who are starting to contact the group. Will need boots on the ground for an occupy style protest, if that turns out to be the strategy. Also, after seeing the film, Fox 8 has decided to do a series on families in foreclosure.
  • Energy group is considering organizing against nuclear power. Since there may be disagreement about this, want to do a temperature check to find out how people feel, how to work with disagreement. TABLED BY PROPOSER (lack of time).
  • Request for resolution against Citizens United being sent to Greensboro City Council. Want folks to sign on to letters to council people and mayor. DISCUSSED.

Tuesday meeting:

  • Facilitator: Mo
  • Stack keeper: Matt
  • Note keeper: Emiley

**Tuesday meeting is going to be a working session/direct action training to prepare for direct action and support teams for occupy-style foreclosure protests.

Foreclosure Working Group: March 15, 2012

Save Our Community: Fight Foreclosure event debrief

  • Fox8, WXII TV12 and News14 sent reporters, video to cover. Fox8 broadcast stories twice.
  • Consensus was that the march went very well with a good sized crowd
  • Limo arrival was enthusiastically received and a lot of fun
  • Lobby tables were very active with a lot of folks signing up for assistance and information
  • Theater band conflicted with red carpet arrival since they were playing while the film’s stars appeared, could have been better planned to avoid that conflict.
  • Attendance was estimated at minimum 351. General feeling was that the real number was significantly higher.
  • MC, John Kernodle ruled the event. Excellent job engaging the audience, making points on the seriousness of the crisis, introducing robots and Jeff Thigpen.
  • Interview with Ricky was powerful and encouraged other foreclosure victims to come forward with their own stories.
  • Movie itself was very well received. Audience laughed at the satirical scenes and were engaged in the explanation of the serious consequences of mass foreclosures. A Legal Aid lawyer commented after the movie that it did a great job explaining job explaining a lot of complicated issues.
  • Thigpen speech, he was warmly welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd who wanted to hear about his foreclosure law suit. We could have benefited from providing more guidance on the subject of his talk.
  • Lobby activities, space was very crowded due to number of tables and large number of attendees. Ushers could have used better direction in collecting signups and distributing flyers. Recommend creating checklists of tasks for all categories of volunteers.
  • Funding, Kickstarter still short of target donations, but very close. Need to spread word about Kickstarter to boost donations.
  • FWG members need to bring receipts for expenses incurred to next meeting to get reimbursement.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Dates for events coming up: 4/19, 4/26, 4/26, 3/31, 4/6, 4/10
  • Bobbie reports she has 8 requests for LLOH DVD’s for various screenings across the state.
  • May Day event: focus on organized labor events and participation. Immigration issues a pressing topic for future actions.
  • Larry Morse to speak at BCC 6:30pm
  • YWCA event, Women in Foreclosure
  • Guilford College screening of “Let’s Lose Our House” @ 5:30pm
  • Fraud Detection Training, 29 attendees have signed up
  • Screening of “The House We Live In” at Glenwood Coffee
  • LLOH screening at UNCG @ 1:00 pm

Jeff Thigpen files suit over robo-signing, will speak at movie premiere

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nathan Pius, npius20@gmail.com, 732-570-8847

“Save Our Community: Fight Foreclosure!” – Movie Premiere at Carolina Theater

“Let’s Lose Our House: A Modern Foreclosure Tale”

Film Stars, Robots, Crowds and a Red Carpet

Jeff Thigpen will address attendees at the premiere of our locally produced film: “Let’s Lose Our House: A Modern Foreclosure Tale” at the Carolina Theater at 7:00 P.M. Wednesday March 14, 2012.

The Guilford County Register of Deeds announced today he is suing several banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, alleging thousands of mortgage documents filed in the county were fraudulent. Thigpen said the fraudulent documents make it difficult, if not impossible, for his office to track who actually owns the property.

Over the last two years Thigpen has become a national figure in calling attention to document forgery, robo-signing, and other types of mortgage fraud by major banks. His office conducted a study of 6,100 mortgage documents here in Guilford County and discovered that 74 percent, about 4,500 transactions, or a stack of paper two feet high, had problems involving forged signatures and fraudulent documents. His research into robo-signing has been cited in a number of pending court cases as well as in the Associated Press, Business Week, and other national publications.

In appreciation of his efforts on behalf of illegally foreclosed homeowners and Guilford County residents, Thigpen will receive autographs from the film’s robotic “Robo-Signers” who will make a special appearance at the premiere.

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

  • 5:30 – 6:15: Dinner at the Interactive Resource Center. Provided by Unity in Greensboro Church
  • 6:15 – 6:30: Photo Op: Marchers assemble at IRC, including Cakalak Thunder
  • 6:30 – 6:45: Photo Op: March comes down Washington, turns left on Greene
  • 6:45 – 7:00: Interviews: Early birds arrive
  • 7:00 – 7:05: Photo Op: Paparazzi/Limo arrival
  • 7:15 – 7:22: Real Foreclosure Story. Ricky and Patricia video
  • 7:24 – 7:47: Screen the movie
  • 7:50 – 7:53: Intro Jeff Thigpen
  • 7:53 – 8:03: Featured Speaker: Jeff Thigpen
  • 8:03 – 8:05: Robots give Jeff autographs, and …
  • 8:30 – 8:45: Interviews: Q&A (in lobby or auditorium, depending on size of crowd.)
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