The war is not over, but a battle has been won.
On October 23rd, 2012, Sherrye Calhoun received a letter stating that Eric Bender had applied for an arrest warrant against her on the grounds of trespassing in her own home of 30 years. Sherrye defiantly moved back into her home after being evicted on August 3, so while it was expected that the police would eventually return to harass her at the bank’s command, the letter nevertheless came as a surprise.
After receiving the letter, rather than sit back and wait for the courts to side with the banks–as they did time and time again in her earlier legal battles–she picked up the phone and contacted her friends, neighbors, and new allies to help her continue the fight for her home.
After hearing the news, Sherrye’s supporters came together to plan a course of action. We were able to implement several ideas:
- Canvassing the Neighborhood
- “No More Evictions” Cookout
- Press Conference at Sherrye’s House
- Phoneblast Against Eric Bender
- Paying a Visit to Eric Bender
- Pack the Courtroom for Sherrye
The timing of the warrant could not have been better for Sherrye and her supporters–or worse for JPMorgan Chase and Eric Bender. We had already planned a “No More Evictions” cookout for the 28th, so we were able to take advantage of the letter’s timing to help spread awareness about the case. We also organized a week-long phone blast to Eric Bender.
On October 31, 2012 several people attempted to deliver a demand letter to Eric Bender withSherrye’s offer to negotiate and a promise to defend her home indefinitely. They were not able to speak to him directly but were told by one of his associates that the bank had decided to withdraw the warrant application. Footage of the encounter was recorded but we are still waiting for it to be edited and delivered to us.
After contacting the court to verify the news, a sigh of relief went out among eviction resisters across Atlanta. After years of fighting for her home, Sherrye Calhoun is finally seeing the rewards of her struggle against capitalism and government alike. A corrupt network of banks, realtors, mortgage brokers, and police manipulated her, foreclosed on her home, and evicted her. But after reaching out to her friends, family, and neighbors it became clear that the only means for Sherrye to resist lay in collective struggle. When we organize ourselves against the domination of capitalism and government, anything is possible.
This is only a small victory–and the war is not over–but we can say that after a week of preparing for the worst, things are now looking up. We know that the danger of arrest remains a possibility, but in the meantime we will use what time we have to continue fighting for Sherrye’s home while the bank’s henchmen regroup.
As always, solidarity is our weapon. We encourage others to participate however they feel is best and to fight back against Eric Bender, JPMorgan Chase, and anyone else who plays an active role in perpetuating the everyday violence of eviction. If you and your friends carry out a solidarity action, please consider letting us know by email or by posting a reportback to http://atlanta.indymedia.org/.
SWARM is working with Sherrye along with a coalition of neighbors, friends, and allies. We would like to thank the folks in Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Joe Beasley, our friends in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and everyone else who has been involved in this fight for your continued involvement and support. SWARM can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.