I'm Staying

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

Karen Mimms resists predatory lenders and corporate lawyers to demand her right to live and thrive in East Oakland

by tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia, poverty scholar, daughter of Dee

“ We want Oakland our way – we demand a right to stay,” community voices in resistance to the predatory lending, eviction and foreclosure of poor folks of color rolled down the 94th street block of East Oakland this week past boarded up houses-remnants of lost families, lost communities and lost cultures.

“Thanks to all of your support, my family, my friends and neighbors, I have been able to remain in my home,” Karen Mims, resident of 9401 cherry street in East Oakland spoke through tears to a crowd of over 50 people gathered on her lawn in protest to a year long battle Mrs Mimms has been having with Aurora Loan Services to stay in her home of 12 years.

“My personal story is that I was with another lender – Homecoming (another lender), who never took responsibility for my loan and lost my payment and then sold my loan to Aurora loan services.” Mrs Mimms went on to explain that after that bankers bait and switch game Aurora Loan had agreed to place her in a repayment plan, but instead sent a speculator out to her home last year to inspect her home for foreclosure.

“We have been besieged by lenders who write loans that people can’t afford and then lay in wait for them to default, foreclose on the loans and leave our families on the streets which tears apart the neighborhoods of East and West Oakland,” said Ray Leon with councilmember Larry Reid’s office in district 7 where Mrs Mimms resides. Leon concluded, “It appears that most of these predatory lenders are waiting for these foreclosures to happen.”

As I stood on the corner of 94th street, a street littered with for sale and foreclosed signs, I was taken back to the not to distant past of me and my poor mama being evicted and landless in both East and West Oakland for years throughout my childhood. How no matter how hard me and my mama fought the evictions which in our case were from rental properties, if corporate interests, rich lawyers and unjust systems were stacked up against us as they are against Mrs. Mimms, we never had a chance. For us eviction meant homelessness. Thankfully, there are powerful resistance groups like Just Cause Oakland, who have been working in solidarity with Mrs..Mimms to fight this unjust land take-over by any means necessary.

“Our fight today and this complete fight is to defend our right to stay zone,” Robbie Clark, Organizer with Just Cause placed Mrs Mimms situation in the larger context of Right to a City and Take Back the Land resistance efforts happening across the nation, which questions who should be in control of neighborhoods and land and how corporations, governments and agents of the state are empowered with the ability to cause whole communities to become landless and without a roof.

The days rally of neighbors and advocates, re-ported and sup-ported on by POOR Magazine/PNN and many more allies ended with triumph. Because of the community pressure put on Aurora and the support of conscious legislators like Ray Leon and Larry Reid, the eviction was postponed. Now the pressure must continue.

Mrs. Mimms, a soft-spoken revolutionary closed with, “We are asking for the support of all the people involved in this battle – we can fight these battles, we cant just keep moving on and leave people in the streets.”

Postscript: WE must keep on the pressure. Mrs. Mimms needs our support. Please call Aurora Loan Services, please call their legal representative: Nicole Kim at 720-945-3217 and the loan officer in charge of Karen’s loan: Carrie Black at (720)945-4566, We are demanding they rescind the eviction for Karen Mims, loan number: 0021802152

Just Cause is also asking for people to make donations to Karen so that she can stay in her home, the rent that Aurora is asking her to pay is $50/day, if you can donate a day, or part of a day, that would be greatly appreciated, to make a donation contact Just Cause Oakland at (510) 763-5877


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