Winter 2011 Appeal

Friends and supporters:

It has been a wild year! We hope this message finds you well.

During these tumultuous times of foreclosures and “Occupations,” bank bailouts and blossoming social movements, our work here at Take Back the Land is more timely than ever. Together, we can build a movement to elevate housing to the level of a human right and secure community control over land.

I am writing to ask you to support Take Back the Land  with an end-of-year financial contribution today, as we launch a new series of campaigns in 2012.

Highlights of the Year 2011

Catherine Lennon and Ryan AcuffCatherine Lennon was called the Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis, after Take Back the Land- Rochester moved her back into the home from which she was evicted. Since then, Bank of America has been unable to “show the note,” meaning the foreclosure itself might have been illegal.

The “Arab Spring” rolled from the Mid-East to the Mid-West, as Madison, WI rose up against attacks on working people. In the process, one of Take Back the Land’s movement leadership team members, M Adams, emerged as a public figure in the discussion on race, class and political demands. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West took note, bringing their Poverty Tour to the area and shining the spotlight on M and Take Back the Land- Madison.

Among other actions, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign liberated a Southside home and defended an Addison family from eviction, making an appearance in the NY Times in the process.

Everything changed, however, this fall, when a small band of activists took over Zuccotti Square and began to Occupy Wall Street. With “Occupiers” claiming inspiration from Take Back the Land, we engaged Working Groups at OWS and in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Miami, Madison, Chicago, Minneapolis and Portland (OR), providing insight, technical support and the benefit of our experience. We also played a critical role in the Occupy Our Homes National Day of Action on December 6, contributing vision and trainings for organizations across the country.

Martha BiggsCommunity groups in the Take Back the Land network were featured in dozens of news pieces, including the NY Times, CNN, AOL News, the Huffington Post, and countless local newspapers and TV stations.

More importantly, though, Take Back the Land helped keep families in their homes by fighting foreclosure-related evictions and “liberating” vacant government-owned and foreclosed homes. Because of our years of experience with these actions and our ties to community groups in neighborhoods most affected by the foreclosure crisis, many - including Occupy working groups in several cities - are looking to us for leadership in this growing social movement.

Looking forward to 2012

The year 2012 is poised to be a historic year in the U.S., and together, we can make it a great one in the fight for the human right to housing. We need your support in order to:

  • Provide political “vision” for this newly emerging social justice movement: distinguish between long-term political objectives and short-term policy demands, develop campaign models, and insist upon supporting the leadership of people of color and women;
  • Lead the call for the human right to housing for all, not just principal reduction for homeowners;
  • Definitively win back Catherine Lennon’s home, setting a new bar for what can be accomplished through Positive Action campaigns;
  • Participate in training and developing campaigns with other local organizations, including those not affiliated with Take Back the Land;
  • Provide critical leadership for the upcoming national 2012 Spring Offensive.

As you are aware, our work is difficult to fund because it is rooted in the theories and rich history of Civil Disobedience: challenging immoral laws by breaking them until they are replaced by just ones. While most people deeply respect the work of figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, even progressive foundations shy away from funding this important work. Therefore, the financial contributions of our supporters - that’s you! - is truly critical to our success.

Because Take Back the Land is not a registered non-profit, we are asking you to make your gift to Movement Catalyst, our 501(c)3 strategic partner. Movement Catalyst does not engage in Civil Disobedience, but is playing a critical role in helping local groups design campaigns and earn media. In addition, Movement Catalyst is leading efforts to build a framework for public policy initiatives and community land trusts that can take legal control of, rehabilitate and rent out foreclosed homes.

Your contribution of...

  • $25 gets a local organization important training materials;
  • $100 secures campaign strategy sessions with a community organization;
  • $250 supports an anti-eviction campaign that helps a family stay in their home;
  • $500 facilitates solution-oriented movement building discussions on public policy initiatives and land trust models;
  • $1,000 provides full support for one organization’s 2012 Spring Offensive anti-eviction campaign: 1-on-1 development, ongoing technical & legal support and communications over multiple actions.
Donate to Take Back the Land NowPlease consider making a contribution to Movement Catalyst at a level that is meaningful to you. Together we can fight for community control over land, ending cycles of displacement and creating real, lasting solutions to the housing crisis. Together we will make strides towards a world in which everyone is granted the human right to housing, over and above the right of banks to turn a profit.

Thank you for helping us reach this far. With the deepest commitment to what we are building together,

Max Rameau