VICTORY: Occupy Atlanta "Occupy Our Homes" Turning PointOccupyOurHomes on December 20, 2011
A decorated Iraq War veteran, in danger of losing her house to foreclosure received the best Christmas gift she could have hoped for. She'll get to stay in her home.
Brigitte Walker said it's all thanks to Occupy Atlanta, "I know because of them I am still in my home," Walker said.
Brigitte was set to lose her home in just two weeks, and had been denied five times for a loan modification from Chase Bank over the last two years.
Brigitte joined the Army in 1985 and has served in Egypt, Bosnia, Kuwait, Korea, Hungary, the Pentagon, and most recently Iraq. Walker's tour in Iraq ended in May 2004 when the shock from mortar rounds crushed her spine.
Unable to serve the Army, Brigitte was pushed into medical retirement which cut her annual income by over 50%. This put Brigitte in a serious economic hardship, a hardship that Chase Bank refused to acknowledge.
Her home was set to be sold on the Fulton County Courthouse steps on January 3rd, whether she was in it or not. Instead of making holiday plans or putting up a Christmas tree, Brigitte and her girlfriend Ajai were worried about losing their home. On a whim, Brigitte reached out to Occupy Atlanta. On December 6, after leaving the very same auction where Brigitte's home was to be sold the following month, we started occupying her home.
After two press conferences on her lawn, a national call in day, and direct action on Chase Bank, Occupy Atlanta did what Brigitte Walker couldn't do in years, get a loan modification. If it weren't for Occupy Atlanta and Brigitte Walker's willingness to resist foreclosure, she would have had her American Dream auctioned off on the Fulton county court house steps. Instead Brigitte Walker and her family can breathe easy knowing they can continue to live the American dream of home ownership.
"They got everyday people like myself involved. Everyday people contacting Chase and advocating for me, peaceful demonstrations, people calling and writing in," Walker said.
Chase called back, and a few days later, the bank and Walker struck a deal better than she had originally hoped for. "I feel a lot of stress is off me now. I feel like now we can celebrate the holidays," Walker said.
Civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was on hand for the victory press conference, said Occupy Atlanta was the main reason Walker got action.
"The voice of the people has been heard. We thank Chase for hearing the voice of the people," Rev. Lowery said. "They have become the conscience. They have touched the conscience of America." Rev Lowery went on to call on the Banks to enact a 9 month moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and to use the time to re-assess property values, to keep Americans in their homes.
Walker was thankful. "This is the best Christmas present, “she said. "Winning Brigitte's home is a win for the people. It should be a call for Americans to fight for their homes, and fight for their neighbors' homes. Let's not forget, we outnumber the bank executives.
Brigitte Walker and Occupy Atlanta Organizers are available for interviews.