It was a day of waiting at Rosemary William’s house on Tuesday. Early in the morning her lawyer, Jordan Kushner, received an email from the lawyer for Williams’s mortgage company, GMAC, offering her $5,000 to help her move if she would agree to vacate the premises.
| The TC Daily Planet has been following the story of Rosemary Williams’ foreclosure and eviction for months. Today may be the final act, as organizers say they expect police to come and evict and/or arrest everyone who is occupying the house.
Sheila’s phone message and my text message crossed paths around 11 a.m. – the word was out that something was happening at Rosemary Williams’ house today, and Sheila was on her way. This is Sheila’s story of today’s events.
The letter informed Kushner that if Williams did not leave by noon, they would contact the Minneapolis police to “secure the property.”
Calling the $5,000 “30 pieces of silver,” Williams’s supporters rallied at her side. Williams decided not to take the money, and instead held court at her home, as nearly 100 people sat in her lawn, her porch, and her living room.
Members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, the MN Coalition for a People’s Bailout, and other supporters and friends held a meeting at 11:30, and many confirmed their intent to be arrested alongside Williams. The meeting was followed by singing.
High noon came, and passed, with no sign of the police. At 1:30 p.m., the Sisters of Camelot bus arrived with food for the protesters, as well as neighbors on the block. Organizers urged those staying at the house to keep the house clean, and not leave trash on the lawn.
Hours passed, with still no sign from the police except an unmarked car that periodically circled the block. The TV reporters left in the early afternoon.
In intervals, singing would spontaneously start up again, as a way to pass the time. I passed around a notebook, asking people to write down their thoughts. They said:
I’m very proud of being a part of a growing movement to help people in foreclosure, and of course justice for rosemary williams. Gmac give it back!!
the time for revolution is now!
rosemary, is I believe, one of the greatest examples to make public, and call to attention the need to fight for a right to shelter. I’ve been honored to stay in her home and fight beside. This will always be rosemary’s house
Cheri Honkala, from the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, contacted the police department at 3:00 p.m. to ask what time they were planning on coming to arrest people. “[Telling us is] the right thing to do,” Honkala said, noting that there were mothers and children at the house who wanted time to find safety. Honkala said that the police told her it was not their policy to tell someone when they are going to be arrested.
At around 4, volunteers began to cut up potatoes and beans, in preparation for dinner. By this time the crowd had decreased to about forty, but that’s still a lot of people to feed, and it’s just Rosemary’s way to make sure everyone gets plenty to eat.
Sheila Regan is a Minneapolis theater artist and freelance writer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org