Monday, March 28, 2011

SWAT Team executes eviction in Rochester, NY

courtesy WHEC News 10 Rochester

The city of Rochester brought shock and awe into a residential community as they sent 25 police cars, including the Rochester SWAT team, to evict the Lennon-Griffin family- including Catherine Lennon, a grandmother, and 7 children- from a single family home.

Take Back the Land- Rochester members executed an eviction defense and suffered six (6) arrests. Charges are not yet known. Spokesperson Ryan Acuff was not arrested. In addition, an elderly neighbor, who lives across the street from the home at 9 Ravenwood Ave., was arrested- in her pajamas- for complaining loudly about the police overkill in her neighborhood.

Here is some media coverage:

The home is now owned and controlled by Fannie Mae, a quasi government agency created to spur homeownership. Fannie Mae received $90 billion in bailout money, more than any other financial institution.

Those arrested include: Jake Allen, Emily Good, Crescenzo Scipione, Ryan Gromkowski, Zora Gussow and Jake Spezio as well as an unidentified elderly neighbor. We do not yet know the charges.

Take Back the Land- Rochester is organizing a speak out tonight at the home followed by a candlelight vigil. The program begins at 6:00pm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Defend the Lennon-Griffin family from a Fannie-Mae eviction with Take Back the Land- Rochester

Take Back the Land- Rochester is making a call to action to defend the Lennon-Griffin family from foreclosure related eviction by Fannie-Mae, the single largest recipient of bailout money at $90 Billion(1). TBL- Rochester calls on you to call one or more of the Rochester, NY officials below and ask them to stop the eviction of the Lennon-Griffin family.

For the last 7 years, Catherine Lennon and her extended family of 11 have lived at 9 Ravenwood Ave., in Rochester, NY. After Catherine's husband, and family breadwinner, died of cancer, Countrywide Mortgage- which was absorbed by Bank of America and received an $8 Billion bailout- refused to renegotiate the mortgage, sending the family's home into foreclosure. In 2010, Bank of America sold the house to Fannie-Mae, who is now seeking to evict the Lennon-Griffin family, including 7 children, ages 2 to 11.

While the eviction was set for Monday, March 14, 2011, Take Back the Land- Rochester organized an eviction defense, where dozens blockaded the home, effectively holding off the eviction for more than a week. This “Positive Action” campaign is not a sit-in, but rather a “live-in” for the human right to housing.


Rochester, NY is overrun with vacant, boarded up homes, while families struggle to find living space. As such, TBL- Rochester is calling on Fannie-Mae to negotiate a solution to this standoff which does not result in the eviction of this family.

Take Back the Land- Rochester is calling on supporters to call local Rochester officials and ask them to stop the eviction and make Fannie-Mae negotiate with the Lennon family. Ryan Acuff provided these numbers, so please call one or more of the following:

Rochester Marshall responsible for evictions: Sande Macaluso at 585-544-4888

City Council member for the district: Dana Miller at 585-428-6048

Mayoral candidate Bill Johnson at 585-336-9921

Mayoral candidate Tom Richards at 585-697-0924

Mayoral candidate Alex White at 585-315- 7687

Take Back the Land- Rochester is part of the Take Back the Land- Movement, a trans-local network of independent organizations devoted to elevating housing to the level of a human right and securing community control over land through Positive Action campaigns. Click for more information about Take Back the Land- Rochester or watch this video about the Take Back the Land- Movement.