Just days after Take Back the Land Rochester and Occupy Rochester publicly vowed to set up an encampment and eviction blockade at 107 Clay Ave. if the bank came to evict the Steidel family, Freddie Mac called off the controversial eviction slated for this week in order to try to find a permenant settlement between Wells Fargo and Steidel family. This incredible premilinary victory follwed a dramatic turn of events that included a public appeal from the family, invervention by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), a protest at Wells Fargo, and Freddie Mac announcing that they were banning their notorious foreclosuure law firm, Steven J. Baum (the law firm for the Steidel foreclosure and eviction), from handling their cases. The people united will never be defeated.
The Steidels received notice that they would be evicted from their home in September. Not knowing what else to do, Maria Steidel remembered seeing Take Back the Land Rochester (TBTL) on the news, after the group successfully defended the Lennon-Griffin Family from eviction earlier this year. She called the news station, and luckily, they gave her contact information that put her in touch with TBTL.
In the past two weeks, numerous protests and actions were organized to support the Steidels in the fight to keep their home. An impromptu press conference was held just as Rochester Mayor Richards appeared, media in tow, to sign an agreement with Occupy Rochester for our right to occupy 24 hours a day.
On November 7, 90 people protested outside Wells Fargo's Rochester offices, demanding they negotiate with the family. Three dozen protesters from Occupy Buffalo also demonstrated in front of the Amherst offices of Steven J. Baum PC, denouncing the controversial foreclosure attorney and calling on state authorities to shut down his office, take away his law license and even put him in jail.
Occupy Rochester and Take Back the Land Rochester publicly announced its intention to set up an encampment on the Steidel's front lawn to prevent the imminent eviction and draw public awareness to the case. However, it never came to that. Harold and Maria received word that they had secured at an indefinite stay of the eviction while negotiations continued.
Following similar victories in San Francisco, Minneapolis and a number of other cities, the Occupy Movement is proving it can team up with local grassroots movements and fight on the front lines of the war on working people. More importantly, it is proving that it can win.