Teeksa Photography--Skip Schiel
9 Sacramento Street
Cambridge MA 02138-1819
A story about taking the housing justice struggle to the homes
of the landlords
For seven hours our caravan, numbering some 50-75 people (depending
on who is counting), went from Cambridge where we tenants all
live to the suburbs where some of the most aggravating owners
live. We carried our message that we wish to negotiate the rent
hikes and we will remain steadfast in not paying unreasonable
increases. We did have a jolly time.
Our contingent included about fifteen Haitians, young and
old, crowded into a bus we had rented. A lively group, singing.
Louise, my partner, reports coming truly alive when all began
singing in Haitian Kreol.
Initially, we assembled at City Hall, paraded through Central
Square to Lucy Parsons book store in the Square's heart (the
site of a proposed and hotly contested renovation and expansion,the
bookstore is now demolished), boarded cars and the bus, and drove
to the various suburbs. We first stopped at Craigie Circle in
Cambridge, Louise's old home. I implored her to speak about the
destruction of the tenants' community garden. She did and well,
spreading the sad story of how the owner, Stuart Rothman, demolished
the garden in apparent retaliation for tenant activism.
A good chance to express anger. One man, for instance, at
the home and office of Chiccarelli Real Estate's owner, Rita
Lamberg, in Lexington, a corner house large with its several
expensive cars in the driveway, was visibly angry and disturbed
about Lamberg's role in forcing people out of already substandard
housing. This spirit was infectious. I could see her house going
up in flames.
And a good chance to chat with neighbors. In Brookline, for
example, two neighbors ventured out of their large homes to see
what we were about. Courageous of them, hearing from us what
their friends and neighbors, the owners, are doing with housing.
We used a loudspeaker to specify exactly what we thought the
owner was doing, who was profiting, how much, and who was suffering.
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