15 Activists Arrested in Springfield

On November 21 in Springfield, 15 activists were arrested for protesting Bank of America's decision to force poor people out of their homes. Hundreds of supporters cheered at the downtown action. Protesters were arrested for blocking the entrance to a Bank of America branch, and for refusing to leave the bank's lobby, where they held signs and chanted, "Bank of America, bad for America." Outside, people inspired by Occupy Wall Street chanted, "We/ are/ the 99 percent."

(To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full size image." photos by Eesha Williams)

The event was organized by the group Springfield No One Leaves www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org

Springfield No One Leaves has been endorsed by the local chapters of the:

American Friends Service Committee www.afsc.org


Jobs with Justice www.jwj.org

The people who were arrested for trespassing were kept in jail from about 1 p.m. until about 11 p.m. without food. They were sentenced to eight hours of community service. They are:

Loren Halman, age 25, of Hadley; Lara Shepard-Blue, 40, of Springfield; Patricia Wieland, 68, of Northampton; Joseph Mirkin, 26, of Northampton; Catherine Ady-Bell, 33, of Springfield; Ellen Graves, 71, of West Springfield; Anamarie Russo, 71, of Northampton; Shanthi Ragaven, 22, of Northampton; Christopher Rios, 21, of Springfield; Russ Vernon-Jones, 64, of Amherst; Jeffrey Napolitano, 33, of Springfield; Destry Sibley of Holyoke; Daniel Keefe, 27, of Shelburne Falls; Jasmin Torrejon of Springfield; and Holly Richardson, 47, of Northampton.

The second photo shows Springfield resident Sellou Diaite addressing the crowd from the front porch of one of many boarded up and abandoned, bank-owned homes in Springfield. Last year, banks foreclosed on 595 families in Springfield. There are more than 150 homeless people in the city, according to www.FOHspringfield.org

Diaite recently lost her Middle Street home when Bank of America evicted her. "I have a job and I work hard," she told the Valley Post. "I told them I would pay all that I could afford for my mortgage. They refused to listen. The banks are bullies. It's time for people to stand up. We have rights."




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