“Billionaire landlords have to go!”

Aug. 20 ― Over five hundred people came to New York City’s public research library on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue this afternoon. They were determined to stop the wave of evictions that is coming.

New York Gov. Cuomo’s ban on evictions will expire on Sept. 4. Tenant groups across the state are preparing to stop the slumlords and sheriffs from throwing families into the street.

The action today was called by the Right To Counsel NYC Coalition, Housing Justice for All and the Metropolitan Council on Housing. People belonging to local tenant organizations came from all over the city.

Members of the Crown Heights Tenant Union, the Flatbush 

Tenants Union, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), Tenants & Neighbors and other neighborhood groups came with their colorful banners.

“Cops and landlords have to go!” was a favorite chant. Speakers in both Spanish and English denounced evictions with their remarks translated. 

One woman talked of how she wanted to move to another state so she could be near her terminally ill mother, but the big landlord refused to break her lease.

This writer carried a sign from Struggle-La Lucha that said, “Never Forget Eleanor Bumpurs.” The 66-year-old Black grandmother was killed on Oct. 29, 1984, as police enforced an eviction from her Bronx apartment. New York policeman Stephen Sullivan fired two blasts from his 12-gauge shotgun at her.

Bumpers owed $394 in back rent. As the sign read, evictions kill!

REBNY here we come

People were eager to march through the biggest concentration of corporate criminals on the planet. They chanted, “We believe that we will win!” as they left Fifth Avenue and went east on 42nd Street.

Hundreds of people trooped up Madison and Park avenues past dozens of skyscrapers that house much of U.S. big business.

There were probably at least 100 construction workers who died building these structures. Nowhere was there a plaque remembering those who were killed.

People ended up at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue, the headquarters of the Real Estate Board of New York. Known as REBNY, it’s the united front of all the landlords and developers in the city.

If it was up to REBNY, every poor person would be driven out of the Big Apple. People held a speakout right in their face.

Tiffany King of the Crown Heights Tenant Union told listeners of her family’s righteous struggle against their greedy landlord. Ms. King is determined to persevere.

That spirit is shared by thousands who are determined to stop evictions.

SLL photos: Stephen Millies