Two Catholic Workers and two shelter guests (they volunteered) have set up a temporary camp site we are calling the “Pope Francis Field Hospital” at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Manhattan Sq. Park). We are camping here because St. Joseph’s House shelter is beyond capacity and is inhumane and unsafe for our guests, volunteers and staff. Before taking this unconventional action, we tried everything in our power to place folks in other area shelters. As has been the case all last week, we were unsuccessful in finding beds for all. Every time we called 211 this weekend and last week, we were told that folks can’t be place because they have been sanctioned by Monroe County social services, and there are no beds available. St. Joe’s opened two weeks ago and we have been at capacity or more since opening day. Last week was particularly hard. On some nights we had as many as ten folks in need of placement, and were only able to find open beds for three. Night after night we have let unplaced people stay, but our numbers are becoming unsafe. We need more safe places for folks in our community in need of shelter and sanctuary. As cold weather approaches, we are asking Rochester’s area churches to open their doors and operate as field hospitals as called for by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has said:
“The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. … And you have to start from the ground up.”
We are camping outside St. Mary’s to call attention to the fact that there is a homelessness crisis in Rochester and that a suffering population is being ignored and left without shelter.
We are here to remind Rochester’s churches of the sentiment expressed by Pope Francis, that the Church is called to be a field hospital, to exist in proximity to the injured as an agent of healing, and to “start from the ground up.”
We are calling on the churches of Rochester to show hospitality, love, and mercy by opening their doors to the homeless, the undocumented and all people on the margins of society; children of God who have nowhere else to go.
This “Pope Francis Field Hospital” Mobile unit will be at St. Mary’s tonight…but we plan on camping at other Rochester churches when we are unable to place folks in our shelter.
Catholic Workers and guests will attend 8:00 AM Mass at Blessed Sacrament and will break down the camp following the celebration.
In his letter announcing the First World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis challenged folks to create moments of encounter with “the other” in the week leading up to the First World Day of the Poor (November 19th, 2017). St. Joseph’s House and the House of Mercy have teamed up and created a week-long series of events to answer the Pope’s call of encounter. All of the events are centered around creating opportunities of encounter with folks who are on the margins. Please join us for some or all of the events…all are welcome!
A week of preparation for the First World Day of the Poor
Sponsored by The House of Mercy and St. Joseph House of Hospitality
Monday, November 13 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM @St. Joseph’s House (402 South Ave): Roundtable discussion led by Catholic Workers on the importance and impact on their lives of working and living with the poor and marginalized. Catholic Workers will also share ideas and suggestions anyone can use to form relationships and be in solidarity with the poor. Our goal is to give individuals meaningful tools to be missionaries in their everyday lives. All are welcome!
Tuesday, November 14 7:00 PM: St. Joseph’s House Catholic Worker (402 South Ave) and the House of Mercy (285 Ormond St.) will open their doors to give tours and answer any questions. Pick the place you would like to tour and show up at 7:00 PM. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Wednesday, November 15 7:00 PM @ House of Mercy (285 Ormond St.) Join us for an interfaith prayer service and candle light vigil. We will join voices and pray for an end to poverty in our community, country and the world. All are welcome!
Thursday, November 16 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ St. Boniface Bowling Alley (15 Whalin St.): Bowling, pizza and fun! Come bowl, eat, play billiards with the folks staying at St. Joe’s and House of Mercy’s shelter. This will be a low-key, fun way of getting to know one another. Free admission and all are welcome!
Friday, November 17 7:00 PM @ House of Mercy (285 Ormond St.): Come share your talents and appreciate others with an open-mic night. The House of Mercy will become a hip café for one night. Coffee, snacks, and talented folks provided!
Saturday, November 18 9 :00 AM – 5:00 PM @ House of Mercy: Help keep folks warm during the cold winter months by dropping by the House of Mercy (285 Ormond St.) to donate winter clothing. Warm coats are especially needed as well as warm socks, long underwear, hats and gloves.
Sunday, November 19 11:15 AM – 4:30 PM First World Day of the Poor: The celebration begins downtown at Washington Square Park at 11:15 AM. We will gather in the park and walk and sing our way to the House of Mercy for 12:15 PM Mass. Following Mass, lunch will be served. Our celebration ends with live music by Danielle Ponder! All are welcome!
House of Mercy: email@example.com
St. Joe’s: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pope Francis declared a World Day of The Poor to be celebrated every year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Pope’s message (see below) is rich and challenging. He is once again calling on Christians to seek out the poor and marginalized. His message on the importance of encounter is at the center of this document. How are you, your church and your community responding to the Pope’s challenge? We would love to hear what you or your church are planning…let us know! -James Murphy, Catholic Worker
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017
Let us love, not with words but with deeds
- “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn3:18). These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard. The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. Love has no alibi. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).
Such love cannot go unanswered. Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins. Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, his merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbour. In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.
- “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps34:6). The Church has always understood the importance of this cry. We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor. This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor. The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor areblessedand heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).
“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians. The evangelist Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community. On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need. The same message is conveyed with similar conviction by the Apostle James. In his Letter, he spares no words: “Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, and drag you into court? … What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled”, without giving them the things needed for the body; what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).
- Yet there have been times when Christians have not fully heeded this appeal, and have assumed a worldly way of thinking. Yet the Holy Spirit has not failed to call them to keep their gaze fixed on what is essential. He has raised up men and women who, in a variety of ways, have devoted their lives to the service of the poor. Over these two thousand years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters!
The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by many other holy men and women over the centuries. He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them. He saw this meeting as the turning point of his conversion: “When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110). This testimony shows the transformative power of charity and the Christian way of life.
We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life. Our prayer and our journey of discipleship and conversion find the confirmation of their evangelic authenticity in precisely such charity and sharing. This way of life gives rise to joy and peace of soul, because we touch with our own hands the flesh of Christ. If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist. The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: “If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness” (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).
We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude. Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.
- Let us never forget that, for Christ’s disciples, poverty is above all acall to follow Jesus in his own poverty. It means walking behind him and beside him, a journey that leads to the beatitude of the Kingdom of heaven (cf.Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20). Poverty means having a humble heart that accepts our creaturely limitations and sinfulness and thus enables us to overcome the temptation to feel omnipotent and immortal. Poverty is an interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness. Poverty instead creates the conditions for freely shouldering our personal and social responsibilities, despite our limitations, with trust in God’s closeness and the support of his grace. Poverty, understood in this way, is the yardstick that allows us to judge how best to use material goods and to build relationships that are neither selfish nor possessive (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 25-45).
Let us, then, take as our example Saint Francis and his witness of authentic poverty. Precisely because he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, Francis was able to see and serve him in the poor. If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalization. At the same time, I ask the poor in our cities and our communities not to lose the sense of evangelical poverty that is part of their daily life.
- We know how hard it is for our contemporary world to see poverty clearly for what it is. Yet in myriad ways poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration. Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money. What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few, and generalized indifference!
Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world. Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned. There is a poverty that stifles the spirit of initiative of so many young people by keeping them from finding work. There is a poverty that dulls the sense of personal responsibility and leaves others to do the work while we go looking for favours. There is a poverty that poisons the wells of participation and allows little room for professionalism; in this way it demeans the merit of those who do work and are productive. To all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society.
All the poor – as Blessed Paul VI loved to say – belong to the Church by “evangelical right” (Address at the Opening of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 29 September 1963), and require of us a fundamental option on their behalf. Blessed, therefore, are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: they are hands that bring hope. Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity. Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”: they are hands that call down God’s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.
- At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church aWorld Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need. To the World Days instituted by my Predecessors, which are already a tradition in the life of our communities, I wish to add this one, which adds to them an exquisitely evangelical fullness, that is, Jesus’ preferential love for the poor.
I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity. They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father. This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter. At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity. God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.
- It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance. They can invite the poor and volunteers to take part together in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there be an even more authentic celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the following Sunday. The kingship of Christ is most evident on Golgotha, when the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and stripped of everything, incarnates and reveals the fullness of God’s love. Jesus’ complete abandonment to the Father expresses his utter poverty and reveals the power of the Love that awakens him to new life on the day of the Resurrection.
This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek. Following the teaching of Scripture (cf. Gen 18:3-5; Heb 13:2), let us welcome them as honoured guests at our table; they can be teachers who help us live the faith more consistently. With their trust and readiness to receive help, they show us in a quiet and often joyful way, how essential it is to live simply and to abandon ourselves to God’s providence.
- At the heart of all the many concrete initiatives carried out on this day should always beprayer. Let us not forget that the Our Father is the prayer of the poor. Our asking for bread expresses our entrustment to God for our basic needs in life. Everything that Jesus taught us in this prayer expresses and brings together the cry of all who suffer from life’s uncertainties and the lack of what they need. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he answered in the words with which the poor speak to our one Father, in whom all acknowledge themselves as brothers and sisters. The Our Father is a prayer said in the plural: the bread for which we ask is “ours”, and that entails sharing, participation and joint responsibility. In this prayer, all of us recognize our need to overcome every form of selfishness, in order to enter into the joy of mutual acceptance.
- I ask my brother Bishops, and all priests and deacons who by their vocation have the mission of supporting the poor, together with all consecrated persons and all associations, movements and volunteers everywhere, to help make thisWorld Day of the Poor a tradition that concretely contributes to evangelization in today’s world.
This new World Day, therefore, should become a powerful appeal to our consciences as believers, allowing us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel. The poor are not a problem: they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practise in our lives the essence of the Gospel.
From the Vatican, 13 June 2017
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua
Original Link: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/poveri/documents/papa-francesco_20170613_messaggio-i-giornatamondiale-poveri-2017.html
According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.
According to Julienne Oldfield, “The Hancock Reaper terrorizes whole communities, generating desperate refugees.”Mark Scibilia-Carver adds that “U.S. taxpayers fund this terrorism keeping the pot boiling and creating enormous ill will toward the United States – instead of funding health, education and infrastructure here.”
Today’s action at Hancock’s main gate is simply one episode in Upstate Drone Action’s persistent nonviolent campaign to expose Reaper drone war crimes. Since 2010 there have been some 200 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock in about a dozen such street theater actions. These have resulted in extreme bails, maximum fines, Orders of Protection, and incarcerations…as well as some acquittals.
Ann Tiffany, Syracuse
Dan Burgevin, Trumansburg, NY
Ed Kinane, Syracuse
Harry Murray, Rochester
Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse
Mark Scibilia-Carver, Trumansburg, NY
Rae Kramer, Syracuse
Hennessy, Kate. Dorothy Day: The World Will be Saved by Beauty. New York: Scribner, 2017. Reviewed by Bob Reiser, S.J., McQuaid Jesuit.
This past summer, in a hurried attempt to get to my annual retreat on time, I quickly grabbed the recent biography of Dorothy Day written by her youngest granddaughter Kate Hennessy entitled, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty. While not necessarily evident at first, the biography developed into a meaningful retreat companion, helping me discover something about Dorothy Day and the journey to God.
Throughout her life Dorothy Day experienced the deep and painful tensions that often characterize our human experience, and her granddaughter shares them with fervid honesty. While not always easy to read, the biography is a “witness” to a real person’s search for God in both the aspirations as well as in the failures of love. In sharing her grandmother’s story as she does, Hennessy remains faithful to her grandmother’s “long loneliness” while at the same time reveals a “beauty” of faith that places Dorothy Day, according to Pope Francis, among the company of great Americans.
Hennessy’s biography begins with an account of her grandmother’s immersion in the unconventional Bohemian lifestyle of the early twentieth century. Colored by hard living, Day’s search for meaning took her through the streets of Greenwich Village in the company of figures such as Eugene O’Neill. Her journey led her to the women’s suffragist movement, and into a cold jail cell where she was confronted by life threatening violence and hunger. At the same time, however, she also found herself drawn at odd hours into quiet churches for contemplative respites, to the mere “tolerance” of her friends.
Her journey also took her from the heights of romantic relationships to the heartaches of loves lost. Hennessy courageously tells the story of a sexual dalliance that ended with an abortion and a civil marriage that dissolved into divorce. She shares the story of Forster Batterham, Dorothy’s true love that in the end could not survive her religious inclinations and his anarchist bents. Yet in spite of all this, or better because of it, Dorothy Day ultimately found herself in a profound moment of conversion at a hunger march in Washington, DC, and in a fortuitous meeting with Peter Maurin on a doorstep in New York.
The Catholic Worker movement, like the rest of her life, was also colored by contradiction. While she was interested in writing for and editing the Catholic Worker newspaper and giving speeches that supported the effort, Peter Maurin penned “Easy Essays,” focused on the houses and farms, and cherished roundtable discussions and “clarity of thought.” In the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day struggled with the conflicts of an institutional church, the tedium of serving the poor, frustrations with younger volunteers, and the surrender to advancing years. Yet, in the midst of it all, the Catholic Worker moved forward.
In many ways, Dorothy Day’s vocation was incompatible with her role as a mother. While Hennessy develops beautiful images of a mother and daughter enjoying a seaside cottage in Staten Island, she also reports how Tamar was shuttled from school to school, from caretaker to caretaker. Dorothy Day’s travel schedule and her commitment to those who came to her door for care, often times competed with the needs of her daughter. In addition, Dorothy Day’s faith was so devout and unbending that Tamar and her children eventually left the church. Yet, even though their relationship was so often rife with tension, it was also characterized by forgiveness and dependence on one another, and they were close to the end.
Dorothy Day has been quoted as saying, “Don’t call me a saint, I don’t want to be dismissed that easily.” Kate Hennessy refuses to dismiss her grandmother’s life. Rather, she lays it bare, and in so doing reveals a journey of faith forged deep within the complexities of life, and in those around her. It ultimately encouraged me, on my retreat and beyond, to follow my own authentic pathway to God. After all, isn’t helping others on their journeys of faith what being a Saint is really all about?
In celebration of the Diocese of Rochester’s Year of the Eucharist
Roundtable Discussion of Dorothy Day’s writings on the Eucharist
Friday, September 29th
Mass: 5:30PM, Simple meal following celebration
Roundtable Discussion starts at 7:00 PM
St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality (402 South Ave)
Please join St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality and Avanti! for Mass, a simple meal and a roundtable discussion. Our discussion is inspired by Bishop Matano’s recent letter about the Eucharist, where Catholic’s are encouraged to more deeply understand “the source and summit of the Catholic faith.” Led by Avanti! members Elizabeth and Mary PIetropaoli, the discussion will draw from selected writings by Dorothy Day on the Eucharist. All are welcome!
About Avanti! (Italian for Go Forth!) A new local group dedicated to promoting Catholic Social Teaching through conversation, prayer, and action. Avanti! is inspired by the writings of St John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, especially Pope Francis’ exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, where we are called to “go forth” and serve through word and deed. Avanti! and St. Joseph’s House are planning future events in October and November, inspired by Pope Francis’ June letter declaring November 19th the World Day of Solidarity with the Poor.
About the Roundtable Speakers: Elizabeth Pietropaoli is beginning her 14th year in high school education, and has a BA and Master’s Degrees in theology. Mary Catherine Pietropaoli holds a BA from Providence College and is beginning her seventh year in education. Sister Grace Miller, from the House of Mercy, will also share her thoughts on the Eucharist.
Roundtable Discussion with Kate Hennessy on her book:
“Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother”
Saturday, September 23rd at 6:00 PM
St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality (402 South Ave)
Join Dorothy Day’s granddaughter, Kate Hennessy, as she discusses an “intimate portrait” of her famous grandmother. Her memories give a new and refreshing view of the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, a woman mentioned by Pope Francis in his visit to the US Congress and now under consideration for Roman Catholic canonization.
Copies of Kate Hennessy’s book are available at Greenwood Books (123 East Ave in Rochester (585) 325-2050) and will also be sold at St. Joe’s the night of the event.
Kate Hennessy is a writer and the youngest of Dorothy Day’s nine grandchildren. She is the author of Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother, published by Scribner. She has worked in collaboration with the photographer Vivian Cherry on Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance, and her work has appeared in Best American Travel Writing.
Dorothy Day and Mohandas Gandhi:
The Legacy of Our Nonviolent Grandparents
Friday September 22 at 7:00 PM
Nazareth College Forum (Shults Center)
A discussion on “Dorothy Day and Mohandas Gandhi: The Legacy of Our Nonviolent Grandparents”. Martha and Kate Hennessy (grandchildren of Dorothy Day) and Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mohandas Gandhi) will have a group discussion about their peace-making grandparents.
Sponsored by the Nazareth College Peace and Justice Program
and St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality
Written by the Rochester Black Land and Liberation Initiative
Liz McGriff of Rochester is taking the Black Land and Liberation Initiative national day of action local!
40 Acres. 40 Cities. One Day.
LAND IS POWER. LAND IS LIBERATION. LAND IN THE COMMONS.
Support Liz McGriff as she takes part in a nation-wide day of action led by the Black Land and Liberation Initiative on June 19th (Juneteenth) 2017. This local peaceful action starts in the parking lot at East High on June 19th at 5:30 PM. Liz will then lead a walk to her home (618 Cedarwood Terrace) in order to re-occupy her home. The Black Land and Liberation national day of action is happening in 40 other cities across the nation. The difference for Liz is that she already reoccupied her home after being evicted…twice! She has the courage to fight for her home and has spent the last few years helping other local residents fight for their homes. She is calling on all her brothers and sister (especially her black brothers and sisters!) to walk alongside her as she continues the struggle to fight an eviction from MidFirst Bank, a bank based in Oklahoma City with no ties to the Rochester community. Make our voices heard and meet her at 5:30 PM on Monday June 19th in the parking lot at East High School. 40 Acres. 40 Cities…including Rochester!
Liz’ Story: Liz McGriff purchased a three-bedroom colonial at 618 Cedarwood Terrace back in 2001. She paid $56,550 via a Federal Housing Authority mortgage loan. Her payments were $636 a month, payments she made diligently up until she hit financial troubles during the nation’s economic downturn in the late 2000s. And still, she made payments when she could while she sought a mortgage modification. In total, she estimates, she made more than 13 years of payments totaling nearly $100,000.
Liz’ requests for modifications were denied, and lender MidFirst Bank foreclosed for the first time in April 2014. Liz was evicted in April, 2015. When authorities came unannounced to remover her they were met with resistance. The police and the MidFirst Bank backed down because of public outrage. According to bank documents supplied by Take Back the Land, the lender has told McGriff it is preparing to convey the property to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (and collect FHA mortgage insurance on the property). But, the lender offered McGriff the opportunity to buy back the house — assessed at $73,000 — for no less than $129,720.45. The house was eventually conveyed back to HUD in June 2016 where they informed her she could stay in the house until they completed an investigation. To date, Liz has not seen the results of their investigation. In January 2017, HUD conveyed her home back to MidFirst. MidFirst and the City Roots Community Land Trust of Rochester negotiated to purchase the home. MidFirst denied both offers and has begun the process of evicting her. She is to appear in court on June 20, 2017 to fight for her home.
Questions for the Rochester Black Land and Liberation Initiative? Email:email@example.com or call (585) 653-8362
More about Black Land & Liberation!
The Black Land and Liberation Initiative is a vision, strategy and training program grounded in black liberation and anchored by black leadership. Our aim is to develop diverse and interdependent strategies that move us away from the current extractive economy which depends on the violent enclosure of land, labor, culture, power, wealth and spirit. We are asserting the fundamental right to the resources required to create our own productive, dignified and sustainable livelihoods through our own free labor and self-governance. Key among those resources is land. We will co-create strategies for transformation which are grounded in a long-term vision, guided in the resilience, culture, and creativity of our ancestry, rooted in our sovereignty, and which we can begin putting into place NOW.
The Black Land and Liberation Initiative is anchored by BlackOut Collective, Movement Generation and a diverse cohort of Black organizers from across the country. We are working with groups of folks across the country to launch a trans-local, Black-led land reclamation and reparations initiative co-created by us and the participants. We are guided by reverence for ancestral knowledge, black love, and collective responsibility.
A Call to Reclaim!
On Juneteenth 2017 (Monday, June 19th) Black people across the country will be taking back land and reclaiming space, from vacant lots to empty school buildings. We are taking back land that should be used for the good of the people; land that has historically been denied access to Black people. Through these actions, we will confront the institutions that have been built off the extracted wealth of Black bodies and Black land and the individuals who have profited from them.
Land is essential in the fight for self-determination and liberation for Black folks. The Call to Reclaim is an intervention to shift the national narrative to incorporate both reparations from a land-based lens as well as to make the connections between land and liberation for Black folks. We see Black folks collectively engaging in land reclamation with the goal of shifting our relationship to the land, engaging in healing while creating hubs for movement work to be housed, cultivated and birthed. We believe Black folks, in this moment, can call on our Maroonage legacy to support the creation of Black safe spaces.
We call for a return of accumulated wealth to black people in the US and black people across the diaspora. We call for a release of stolen land. We vow to work with integrity and build partnership with those whose lands were stolen and with the land itself. We vow to continue the struggle, to build black community, institutions, and power until we are returned what is rightfully ours.
For more information visit: http://blacklandandliberation.org/
Juneteenth, A Short History: Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.