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April Fundraiser for Take Back the Land Rochester

Come Join us for an evening of good food and support

Take Back The Land-Rochester

TBTL-Rochester works to prevent foreclosure-related evictions and assists the homeless in finding secure housing. Take Back the Land Rochester is poor people's movement led by poor people.  Financial assistance is essential to continue the important work of keeping the number of homeless from rising. Please come and lend your support.
When: Monday, April 25th at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Bistro 135 Jazz Lounge & Restaurant
135 West Commercial Street
East Rochester, NY 14445

Community Groups Demand Justice for the Lennon-Griffin Family

Today, April 21, a new alliance of community organizations was formed to fight for justice for Catherine Lennon and her family, the Rochester grandmother who was evicted by over 20 Rochester police late last month. Cathy Lennon and inculding members of different community organization spoke at the press conference held at the Lennon-Griffin's Family's home at 9 Ravenwood Ave., Rochester, NY.

Catherine Lennon made local and national news after she defended her home from eviction for two weeks with help from Take Back the Land- Rochester and her neighbors. On March 28, Rochester police executed the eviction with two dozen or so police officers and arresting seven people, including a 70 year old neighbor, still in her pajamas. Charges against those arrested are being dropped in exchange for 8 hours of community service.

After her husband died of cancer in 2008, Ms. Lennon and her family has struggled financially, missed mortgage payments and eventually went into default. After meeting with Take Back the Land- Rochester, Lennon decided to fight the eviction. As the news story went viral and national, Lennon was called the Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis. Since the eviction, Lennon has been living in a local hotel as her children and grandchildren are scattered among friends and family.

Update from Ravenwood Eviction: Negotiations with Fannie Mae Begin

After almost a year of being stonewalled by Fannie Mae (the current owner of 9 Ravenwood), today and the day after the eviction of the family and 7 were arrested in protest, Fannie Mae came to the table to begin negotiations with the family.  This afternoon Catherine Lennon of 9 Ravenwood Ave was on a five-way call with 3 officials from Fannie Mae and staff person from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office who arranged the call.  According to Ms. Lennon the dialogue was very positive and that Fannie Mae vowed to work with her to get her home back.  They stated that the first step was to get the family's records of current income and would continue to work from there.  In addition, Take Back the Land Rochester received calls today from both Senator Chuck Schumer's office and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand saying that they would also be stepping up efforts to intervene on the family's behalf.   You can find Congresswoman Slaughter's press release below.


Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules

Representing New York’s 28th District


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Victoria Dillon(202) 225-2888

Slaughter Steps In to Help Local Family Return to their Home

7 Arrested Defending Family from Eviction on Ravenwood Ave.

At about 9:05am this morning about 13 police cars blocked off Ravenwood Ave. and stormed 9 Ravenwood Ave. to forcibly evict the Lennon-Griffen family from their home. Police put up crime scene tape and a group of movers with a U-haul showed up to empty the house. Around 10:30am a group of community members ran through the police crime scene tape and blocked the front door to the house in an act of civil disobedience. Five community members—Jake Allen, Emily Good, Crescenzo Scipione, Zora Gussow, and Ryan Gromkoski—were arrested and charged with obstruction of government administration and trespass. Currently they are being processed at the public safety building on Plymouth Ave. Jail support is scheduled to start a 1pm.

Courtesy of Rochester Independent Media Center

As of 11:15am, two more community members were arrested. Jake Spezio was arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct when he was caught cutting the corner of the police line (an honest mistake it seems) and the other, Liz Rich, a neighbor on Aberdeen St., (a 70 year old retired woman in her pajamas), was arrested for disorderly conduct when she was asking an officer why Spezio was being arrested. The police then forced all witnesses to the end of the street and threatened neighbors for walking by the house.


Ravenwood Eviction Defense: Week 2 Update and Preparation for Week 3


The Lennon-Griffin family is still in their home at 9 Ravenwood Avenue in Rochester after two weeks of protests despite attempts by Fannie Mae to forcibly evict the family. First on Monday, March 14, then on Tuesday the city marshal (on behalf of the Federal National Mortgage Association, aka Fannie Mae) was scheduled to execute the eviction of the family of 11, but the combination of protests, eviction blockades, eviction watches, strong community support, and a news media presence was enough for the marshal and the bank-hired movers to halt the eviction.  Since Wednesday, March 16, there has been an ongoing Eviction Watch Encampment to keep a watch on the house and neighborhood and to notify neighbors and news media if any steps are taken to evict the family of 11 from their home. Last week's eviction watch culminated in Anti-Eviction Community Potluck and Barbecue on Friday to celebrate and build on the successes so far. 

Anti-Eviction Community Potluck and Barbecue!

Where: 9 Ravenwood Ave., Rochester, NY

When: Friday, March 25, 4pm to 7pm

A series of protests and eviction blockades organized by Take Back the Land Rochester have kept Lennon-Griffin family in their home and halted an eviction by the mortgage investor Fannie Mae. Currently, the City Marshal has vowed to temporarily stop the eviction as Louis Slaughter's office puts pressure on Fannie Mae to negotiate.

Do you know anyone who is being foreclosed and/or evicted and wants to fight back? We are calling on the community to come out and pass a dish as we continue to organize to keep the Lennon-Griffin family in their home and discuss how we can build a movement to keep everyone in their homes and make housing a human right.

Eviction Defence - Day 4

Today was Day 4 of the eviction defense of the Lennon-Griffin family in Rochester, NY.  First on Monday, then on Tuesday the City Marshal was scheduled execute the eviction of the family for Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) but the combination of protesters, an eviction blockade, strong community support, and a news media presence was enough for the Marshal and the bank-hired movers to cancel their visits.  Organized protest and resistance clearly made the difference. 

On Wednesday and Thursday the family, neighbors, and Take Back the Land Rochester organized an Eviction Watch Encampment from 9 to 5--the hours an eviction can be carried out in the State of New York. The encampment has consisted of a constant stream of people taking shifts watching the house from the front lawn.  The watch, which includes a video camera, looks out for any marshal or police activity and is ready to notify the community for an emergency mobilization if necessary.  In addition to staying vigilant and showing the marshal that the eviction defense is ongoing, the watch has turned out to be a great opportunity for outreach as community members stopped by to chat all day long.  And now its been 4 days and the family is still in their home!  The Eviction Watch Encampment will continue. 

Eviction Protest and Blockade Stalls Eviction for Second Day, Eviction Watch Encampment Called for Rest of the Week

On Tuesday March 15, 2011, neighbors and community members gathered to protest the imminent eviction by Fannie Mae of the Lennon-Griffin family from their home. For the second day in a row the eviction was canceled by the city marshal keeping the family in their home.

On Tuesday the city marshal and the Fannie Mae-hired moving team were scheduled to show up at 10:00am to execute the eviction and move out the family's belongings. At 10:10am the moving team notified resident Catherine Lennon that they would show up in about 30 minutes. When moving truck showed up about 10:40am they were met with protesters, four people locked down and blocking the entrance to the home, and a flurry of news media. At this point the Uhaul decided to keep driving and parked around the block. Knowing the eviction could happen any moment a standoff ensued for about an hour and a half where the moving truck waited to see if the protests and news media would disperse. With the protesters and news media dug in at 9 Ravenwood, the moving truck retreated from the neighborhood about 12:00pm. At that point the family and Take Back the Land Rochester declared a temporary victory.

Eviction Stalled by Community Support, Second Day of Protest Called

Rochester, NY – At 10:00am Monday, March 15, 2011 on 9 Ravenwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14619 the Lennon-Griffin Family with the support of Take Back the Land Rochester are calling for a second day of protest to block the impending eviction of from their long time home. At 10:00am movers hired by Fannie Mae are scheduled to move out all the family's belongings.


Take Back the Land Rochester to Defend Family from Foreclosure-related Eviction

Rochester, NY – At 12:00pm Monday, March 14, 2011 on 9 Ravenwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14619 the Lennon Family with the support of Take Back the Land Rochester is calling for nonviolent civil disobedience to block the impending eviction of their family from their longtime home.


For the last 7 years Catherine Lennon and her family of 11 have lived at 9 Ravenwood. After Catherine's husband died of cancer, their now defunct mortgage lender and government bailout recipient, Countrywide refused to


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