Revolution #195, March 14, 2010

Greensboro, NC: The Struggle At Hairston Homes

The following was sent to Revolution by a reader:

On March 7th, over 50 people in Greensboro, NC, residents of J.T. Hairston Homes and supporters, marched from Hairston Homes to Shiloh Baptist Church. Shiloh is the owner of the apartments, and has contracted Westminster Properties as the property manager.

Residents describe Hairston Homes as being run like a prison camp, with arbitrary rules that change every couple of months. Residents are not allowed to have visitors after 10 pm, they are not allowed to socialize in front of their homes, and a new rule even proposes to make residents wear picture IDs (like in apartheid South Africa or occupied Palestine) with their children's names on the back. Violations of these rules get residents hit with sometimes heavy fines (like $45 to replace a lost key) and get you the attention of abusive and racist property management. All playground equipment and the basketball court has been torn down, leaving the children with no safe places to play.

Recently, a group of residents presented a petition of their complaints to Westminster, and soon several of them found themselves served with eviction notices, which are being upheld by the courts, in spite of pending discrimination proceedings against Westminster.

Residents and supporters have been asking Shiloh's board to intervene on their behalf to get Westminster to back off, but have gotten no response. Today's march took residents right out front of the church as services were ending, to be visible to churchgoers and the church leaders. None of the church leadership came out to talk to the marchers.

A flyer written and distributed by residents to nearby neighborhoods connected the wave of evictions of Black and working class women and their children to the massive lockdown of Black and working class men in American prisons, and put the blame for this situation squarely on the capitalist system. In honor of International Women's Day, and the role of the women leading the Hairston Homes struggle, some supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party brought a banner with the slogan "Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution." This was one of the most popular signs carried on the march; women and men made sure that the banner was held high to be seen by oncoming traffic and churchgoers leaving services.

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