Four homeless women and their children were evicted before dawn on Tuesday (Jan. 14) by heavily armed sheriff’s deputies in Oakland.
ABC News reports the Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies escorted the women from the home and bound their hands with plastic ties. Some of the deputies were dressed in military-style fatigues.
“Let the moms go! Let the moms go!” dozens of community activists chanted on the sidewalk, recording the scene with their cell phones, ABC News reports.
“They came in like an Army for mothers and babies,” Dominique Walker, one of the mothers who formed the collective, Moms 4 Housing, told reporters, ABC News reports. “We have the right to housing. This is just the beginning.”
According to ABC News, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Patrick McKinney ruled last Friday (Jan. 10) that the women did not have the right to stay and had to leave within five days.
Lawyers representing Moms 4 Housing argued that housing is a right and removing the women from the home that sat vacant for so long would mean they would have to live on the streets, ABC News reports.
While McKinney allowed the Moms 4 Housing lawyers to make their case, he had previously issued a tentative ruling in favor of Wedgewood Inc., the real estate investment group that brought the Oakland property at a foreclosure auction last year, ABC News reports.
A woman with Moms 4 Housing spoke to reporters following the eviction and commented on an offer Catholic Charities made to the mothers, a post on Twitter showed.
“We want people to understand that Catholic Charities is not housing,” she said, alluding to an offer of two months in a shelter and to pay for moving expenses.
“Moving is not an issue,” she said. “The system does not work. So, anyone that’s tried to get housing in the city of Oakland knows that two months is nothing. One of the mothers has been homeless for six years.”
She called Catholic Charities “gesture” the work of a public relations firm, adding, “It is not intended to truly house the families.”
In a statement to BET, Walker said, “We’ve heard from people all over the world who are inspired by our nonviolent civil disobedience. People who say that our action has shifted their perspective and helped them understand that housing is a human right. We’ve built a movement of thousands of Oaklanders who showed up at a moment’s notice to reject police violence and advocate for homes for families. This isn’t over, and it won’t be over until everyone in the Oakland community has a safe and dignified place to live.”