Mark1This morning Occupy Our Homes Atlanta home defender Mark Harris woke up to a knock on his door. When he looked out his peep hole he saw Dekalb County Marshals with guns drawn and aimed at his door. He stepped outside to tell them he had a Temporary Restraining Order against Fannie Mae moving through the courts. They said it didn’t matter. Fannie Mae wanted him out, and they were there to evict. From 8:00AM to 12:00PM a contracted eviction company moved Mark’s belongings from his house to his lawn as supporters gathered by his side.

Mark’s fight has been a long one, and is isn’t over yet. He first joined Occupy Our Homes Atlanta in October of 2012 after his home was sold on the courthouse steps alongside hundreds of others at the monthly foreclosure auction. Mark had lost some income, but still had enough from his military and Teamsters pensions to afford his home with a modification and preferably some principle reduction. His campaign immediately turned its sights on Fannie Mae, the investor on Mark’s loan. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta had just mobilized hundreds to paralyze Atlanta’s business district and shut down the street outside of the regional Fannie Mae office in September of 2012, so Fannie Mae was a familiar enemy for us.

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Through national networks of groups fighting Fannie Mae, Mark was able to go to Washington D.C. and meet top Fannie Mae executives alongside other homeowners using direct action to fight for their homes. National negotiations with these top VPs at Fannie Mae were set to move into regional meetings with these VPs traveling the US to meet with grassroots organizing groups to discuss our demands for change at Fannie Mae. Just recently they doubled back. They canceled all of the regional meetings and have been moving forward with evicting almost everyone they had been working with, including Olivé Hendricks with City Life/Vida Urbana.

When negotiations began to deteriorate Mark hired an attorney in an attempt to pursue some of his very few options to prevent eviction under Georgia law. In Georgia you can go from missing a payment to being out on the streets in as little as 90 days. Mark has lasted 10 months since his home was auctioned off because he has relied on direct action and public pressure to keep him in his home rather than trying to win in court against an enemy with deep pockets.

As supporters gather at Mark’s home it’s becoming very clear that Fannie Mae is acting with a vengeance. They have hired three private security contractors to park in one of Mark’s neighbor’s driveways and report every move Mark and his supporters make. As people were starting to load Mark’s valuables into a U-Haul five patrol cars from various police jurisdictions descended on Mark’s street demanding that everyone avoid setting foot in both the street and Mark’s yard (where his belongings were strewn). People pressured the police into backing down and are now preparing for a 3PM press conference.

After the press conference there will be a cookout and block party outside Mark’s house. It starts at 4PM so if you’re in the Atlanta area bring your friends, bring some food and music, and come out to support Mark, another black veteran cast aside by financial institutions, and removed from his home at gunpoint by officers that claim to be acting in the name of public safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the press conference there will be a cookout and block party outside Mark’s house. It starts at 4PM so if you’re in the Atlanta area bring your friends, bring some food and music, and come out to support Mark, another black veteran cast aside by financial institutions, and removed from his home at gunpoint by officers that claim to be acting in the name of public safety.