Week 8 Class at City Life/Vida Urbana

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CLVU organizer handing a bank tenant association member the sword to fight her foreclosure.

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Marshall Cooper shows a poster he used at a recent protest.

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A new member shares her story for the first time at CLVU.

We had an amazing class at City Life/ Vida Urbana in which we were able to participate in a portion of the organization’s weekly Boston Bank Tenant Association meeting.  This meeting is open to anyone who is facing foreclosure or eviction or anyone who is supportive of those who are and wants to help with the cause. At the meeting, CLVU organizers discussed with members and new participants next steps for specific cases and appropriate advocacy strategies, which combines direct action and public pressure on the banks (the Sword) and legal defense and advocacy (the Shield).

Halfway through the meeting, our class met separately with two bank tenant association members: Marshall Cooper and Ken Tilton, who generously shared their stories with us. We were touched by how Marshall, Ken, and City Life welcomed our class into their space and treated us as part of the organization.  Reflecting on the experience, students later explained what struck them about it:

  • Moving stories of people’s experience at CLVU
  • The power of collective intake
  • Creative methods for generating and sharing ideas
  • The ability of the organization to draw out vulnerabilities and build a supportive group environment
  • The facilitation skills of CLVU organizers and their ability to manage such an emotionally-charged space

Photos by Sofia Campos

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