Video: Homeless family occupies forclosed home in Brooklyn

Transcript after the jump
On Tuesday, with the support of neighbors, housing activists, and OWS protesters, a homeless family–Alfredo Carrasquillo, Tasha Glasgowa and their three children–took up residence in a foreclosed house in East New York.

The move was part of a national day of action to mark the beginning of Occupy Our Homes, a campaign to reclaim foreclosed houses from the banks–and give them to the people who need them most. Similar “housewarming” parties took place in more than 25 other cities. And organizer Beka Economopoulous said, “This is just the beginning.”

I’m with Michelle Goldberg–by “harnessing its DIY energy to the needs of real people, and standing up to banks in a way that goes beyond mere symbolism,” this next phase of the Occupy movement seems like it could be really fucking awesome.


Alfredo Carrasquillo: Due to the fact that there’s countless homeless people in the street, including me and my family, we’re here to fight back and let the government know–and the big banks know that they’re not going to take advantage of our communities no more. So you see the family right here. So..Tasha. And just let it be known–this is the first time that they’ve ever been involved in anything like this. So that goes to show you–you don’t have to have prior experience to do this kind of stuff.

Son: Daddy!

Alfredo: My son right here has never been in front of a camera, but he loves the camera. And I think that’s all that matter. [To son: No you cannot have coffee.]

Tasha: That’s constantly what he asks: Are we moving again, Mommy, are we moving again? They’re really young so they don’t really know too much of what’s going on. I just want a place for me and my kids. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that. Why y’all have foreclosed apartments? Should y’all be fixing it up and giving it to people like us?

Alfredo: The real criminals are Wall Street and the big banks who are foreclosing these homes and leaving people homeless and in the street and in the shelter. We’ve gotten alot of support from Occupy Wall Street and other organizations involved in this work and with their assistance, we were able to do outreach and speak to people in the community and gain their support on this. And most people out here agree with what we’re fighting for. For example, Dee and Teresa who lives here.

Teresa: Making everything work together. Not just for one person but for everybody. So it’s important that whatever we have to help somebody else, give it.

Tasha: I’m trying to do what I have to do. This is the only option I have right now.

Alfredo: Alisha, would you like to open that door and then push it? [Enter house.] The first question you’ve got to ask yourself is why? Why is it that these communities have to go through these issues? Why is it that we have to suffer while the wealthy get richer? Like, why is it? And I think ultimately when we start thinking about it and start that dialogue within those communities, within our communities, then maybe we can start addressing it.

[Outside, supporters have gathered]

Son: Mommy! Daddy! Come here! Everybody’s here! They’re looking for us! Come!

[Family goes outside to greet the crowd.]

Voice-over: Empty homes were the target of this latest protest by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Alfredo Carrasquillo and his family were among the protestors. They’ve taken up residence in one of the districts vacant properties.

Alfredo: We took matters into our own hands and claimed back property that was taken away from the community.

Voice-over: Some the residents in this Brooklyn neighborhood were happy to see the protesters.

Alfredo speaking using the human mic: I wanna thank all the people who live in these houses that support what we’re doing. I wanna thank all you people who came out today in the rain, with nasty weather, and supported us in this occupation. This moment is really special. Wow. [Cheers from the crowd.]

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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