23/09/2020

“Sheriff is banging on the door right now please come to 2928 Magnolia Street right now to witness and film,” the moms texted to their advocates.

Just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, the four homeless mothers occupying an investor-owned home in Oakland texted the supporters whod been faithfully guarding them since a court ordered their eviction last week. They were about to be kicked out.
Sheriff is banging on the door right now please come to 2928 Magnolia Street right now to witness and film, they wrote.
Video later showed sheriffs deputies with the Alameda County Sheriffs Office who were ordered to carry out the eviction within five days after a judge ruled in the property owners favor Friday trying to break down the door and return the property to vacancy. Advocates, who had been summoned to the home several hours earlier, appeared to surround the house on short notice. Marisa Kendall, a reporter for the Mercury News, said cops showed up in riot gear in turn to ward them off.
Dominique Walker, a 34-year-old mother to two young girls and member of the coalition that calls itself Moms 4 Housing, promised after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Patrick McKinneys ruling that her cadre of moms and kids wasnt leaving without a fight. Theyd been there since November and celebrated the holidays there. The sheriffs deputies came when she was out of the home for a media interview, according to April Thomas, a spokesperson for Moms 4 Housing. Four people were arrested during the eviction two mothers and two of their supporters, according to Thomas but it wasnt clear on what charges.
Weve heard from people all over the world who are inspired by our nonviolent civil disobedience. People who say that our action has shifted their perspective and helped them understand that housing is a human right, Walker said in a statement Tuesday. Weve built a movement of thousands of Oaklanders who showed up at a moment’s notice to reject police violence and advocate for homes for families. This isnt over, and it wont be over until everyone in the Oakland community has a safe and dignified place to live.
The moms had been illegally occupying the modest three-bedroom home since November, arguing that the propertys corporate owner should consider selling them the home at a fair price since housing has become so unaffordable in the Bay Area.
The mothers said they had a willing financier in the Oakland Community Land Trust, but that the homeowner wouldnt come to the table to broker a deal.
The home is owned by Wedgewood Properties, a California-based company that buys and flips distressed homes. The company, which has called the mothers occupation violent, dangerous, and unsuccessful, urged the women to leave voluntarily. Saturday, the company released a press statement saying it had offered to pay the mothers housing and moving costs for two months so they could get back on their feet.
Wedgewood is pleased this illegal occupation of its Oakland home has ended peacefully. That is what we have sought since the start, Sam Singer, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement. We will now work with a non-profit, Shelter 37, to renovate the home giving opportunities to at-risk Oakland youths and splitting the profits with the non-profit so that other youths may benefit.
The Alameda County Sheriffs Office has been threatening to remove the women from the home since last month. The women have warned that, if evicted, theyd simply rejoin the citys 4,000 homeless who struggle every day to find space in a nearby shelter or a permanent home.
Cover: In this photo taken Dec. 30, 2019, Sharena Thomas, left, Carroll Fife, center, Dominique Walker, second from right, and Tolani KIng, right, stand outside a vacant home on Magnolia Street in West Oakland, Calif. (Kate Wolffe/KQED via AP)