We are sharing this example of the struggle of working people against gentrification and slumlords. Stephen Perkins.
Members from the Springfield Autonomous Tenants Union (SATU) sing a version of 'Let it Snow' to Barnett Capital - the development corporation that's threatening to evict 10 members of the Centro Autónomo of Albany Park, Chicago. For more information about how to resist classist displacement, call 773-583-7728
BARNETT CAPITAL LTD: DON’T DISPLACE TENANTS FROM THEIR HOME AND HISTORY
TO: MRS. JULIE GATELY AND MR. DAN SHACHTMAN OF BARNETT CAPITAL LTD,
Dear Mrs. Julie Gately and Mr. Dan Shachtman of Barnett Capital LTD,
Actions speak louder than words.
We, the undersigned, demand that you, working on behalf of Barnett Capital LTD, cease the displacement of the tenants living in 4834 N. Springfield Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60625–organized through the Springfield Autonomous Tenants Union (SATU).
These tenants, who are also part of the Centro Autónomo de Albany Park and the community-wide Autonomous Tenants Association, have repeatedly asked for a meeting to negotiate, which you have denied outright. We stand with SATU and insist that you allow them to stay in their homes.
The 4834 N. Springfield apartment building is no typical dwelling.
The Centro Autónomo, an organization firmly rooted in the Albany Park community, started in this building. Immigrant workers living in Albany Park, came to this space to learn English and how to defend their rights as workers and as immigrants. In 2007, the Centro Autónomo moved to a more central location, while several organizers and professors continued living in the apartments. Now, all tenants living in the building are members of the Centro Autónomo. Not only are they defending their homes, we are defending their history.
Since Barnett Capital LTD’s acquisition of the property in June, SATU has been trying to work with you in order to stay in their home and their community. SATU has consistently asked for a one-year lease and that code violations be repaired. In responding to their asks, your answers have been infrequent and inconsistent. Now you are commencing an eviction process, which, if not stopped, will result in the displacement of these tenants from their homes and community while contributing to the gentrification of the Albany Park neighborhood.
Your continued disregard for the reasonable demands of these tenants has led us to the conclusion that you are gentrifiers. We have witnessed the displacement of hundreds of families from Albany Park at the hands of profit hungry real estate and development companies. As long as you continue to portray SATU’s dignified demands as unimportant, you will solidify Barnett Capital Ltd’s reputation as a gentrifier. Certainly a highly-esteemed company like Barnett Capital cannot afford such a reputation.
We, the undersigned, in solidarity with SATU, demand the following:
• Cease eviction proceedings against the tenants of the Springfield Autonomous Tenants Union.
• Agree to a 1-year lease in the property at comparable rent for all tenants of the Springfield Autonomous Tenants Union and promptly and properly attend to the repairs needed.
Springfield Autonomous Tenants Union and Supporters
Why is this important?
Our struggle is important not just because of our individual struggle as tenants against Barnett Capital, but because of the gentrification of our working class neighborhood of Albany Park. Thousands of tenants have been priced out of our neighborhood due to greedy speculation by corporations like Barnett Capital. Families living in the neighborhood for decades have to move away from their friends and extended family, their children's schools, their social networks, their community centers, their churches, all because of developers’ and speculators’ desire for profit. Because of gentrification, tenants are displaced from the place they call home. By struggling for our right to stay in the neighborhood at an affordable rent, we are forming part of the larger neighborhood struggle against gentrification. The community has power when we organize ourselves! Please join us, ally with us, be in solidarity with us, by signing this petition!
How it will be delivered
The petition will be delivered in person to Barnett Capital LTD's offices.