Demand the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Take Its Knee Off Our Necks!

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Zakiya Alake
Zakiya Alake signed this petition

Rescind its decision denying court
access to Alton King and all
homeowners who were illegally
foreclosed and made indigent.

 

While we were fighting police brutality and COVID’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just put its knee on our necks! 

You, our highest Court, must rescind this injustice, its decision against Alton King and all homeowners who were illegally foreclosed, before it becomes settled law. First it will rob Black and Brown homeowners, then homeowners who are women head of household. That's exactly the order in which the Mortgage Industry targeted certain groups and communities.

MAAPL/Bring Our Wealth Home evidence demonstrates that, "Those who were screwed first were screwed worst." Read on and learn why.

Since Civil Rights activists got Massachusetts Anti-Redlining law passed in the 1980s, it has been illegal to target people of color and areas with large people of color populations for predatory and thus illegal mortgages. 


Yet, under the race coded slogan of “You bought too much house”, the Mortgage Industry has done exactly that. See map at this link.Do we have this link here inserted?


237 years ago, Massachusetts’s highest court – with an African descendent in front of it – recognized equal rights to property for all residents of Massachusetts, even for those “born a slave”. That recognition not only guarantees your right to protect the ownership of your property, but access to the courts to do so. It is also a guarantee not to have to buy justice, especially by forgoing the necessities of life. 


After enforcing the laws against this rampantly illegal and intentionally racist industry in the cases put before it starting in 2008, on June 17 of this year, the Massachusetts SJC reversed all of those decisions; it reversed essentially all caselaw, including its 1783 decision. Instead it declared those whose situations it could successfully fictionalize under the racist misconstruction of “you bought too much house” as a population without constitutional rights. 


That is: Alton King and all homeowners who have been victims of illegal, criminal (and, therefore, reversible) foreclosures by this ruling are stripped of their Constitutional and legal existence in the eyes of Massachusetts courts. 


This was done in service of willfully ignoring transparent legal violations of the largest financial institutions in the world.

We, the undersigned join MAAPL in the fight against practices steeped in structural racism.

We, the undersigned, join Bring Our Wealth Home to demand that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

rescind its recent decision in the Alton King case that disproportionately denies people of color recognized Constitutional guarantees, and,
reverse the Court’s guidance to all the lower Courts that non-payment of a mortgage is a basis to deny:
a. all accountability from those who can be shown to have been illegally foreclosed and 

b. all justice for the tens of thousands of victims of the unconscionable, adhesion, and overwhelmingly void contracts that were intentionally unaffordable and illegal from origination forward.

Even with evidence of illegal foreclosure, on June 17, 2020, you, our top judges, deprived Massachusetts homeowners of their rights to defend their homes unless they pay for access to the courts even when they must go without to do so. 

BOWH delivered, within the fourteen days allowed, our letter (dare we say our shot across the bow) to the Massachusetts SJC: Take Your Knee off our necks!

In the history of the Massachusetts Constitution, human beings' rights have been expanded; however, never before have they been contracted by you, the Judges of this, our Highest Court. 

In 1783, when this Court was a baby, only 3 years old, it took bold, moral leadership, recognized the authority of the new Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, and held that no person, regardless of “color, complexion or features”, could be a slave, because liberty was guaranteed to all. Also equally guaranteed then and now, are life and property. These are the rights of all, regardless of color or complexion.

This baby Court stood tall then against the wealthy white men, who only a year earlier had filed and were still lobbying the young Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate to affirm that those of African descent were, in fact, property, not human beings. 

It is not the role of this Court to uphold the prejudice of the race coded slogan, “Well, you bought too much house. Why should we even care about you, let alone fight for you?” 

The first case that this Court decided during the housing bubble driven by greed that incentivized targeting the most reprehensible pseudo contracts (that could never legally have qualified as mortgages), disproportionally to people of color (and, in fact, women heads of households) against the industry that was already deep in this transparent structural racism that was already explicitly against our laws (See Anti-Redlining Statute, MGL Chap. 183 §64).

If this Court seeks to stand in the huge shoes of the Court of 237 years ago, which declared slavery unconstitutional, overturning the existing statute permitting slavery, then this Court must reverse this decision: its pass for millions of illegal and not infrequently criminal acts, and instead scrutinize the industry players who come before it; expose their impossible claim that they have been injured where they do not even own what could not possibly be legal mortgages. 

Enforce the foundational concept already rooted in the bedrock of our Commonwealth 3 years in, that Alton King and all people of color have an equal right to their property and to the protections that this Court is supposed to stand for and champion.

To riff off of Pastor Martin Niemoller - First they came for those people who you thought bought too much house, so you didn’t speak up.  Then they came for the indigent, but you weren't indigent. Then Coronavirus hit like a ton of bricks; laid off, your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance got delayed for weeks. You lost your employer paid health insurance. Then you went into foreclosure. Even if the Massachusetts legislature and the governor extends the moratorium on foreclosure and evictions, they didn’t freeze those payments.    

If you meet the legal indigency standard, it is Constitutionally insufficient for this Court to waive your one-time cost of an Appeal Bond. If you can’t pay whatever the justices decide is “...fair use and occupancy,” ongoing, the Court will not only refuse to hear you, it will bring on its own separate obligation to review and sanction the party that claimed the foreclosure. 

No, we are not lawyers. MAAPL/BOWH’s base building, movement work is with “foreclosed” homeowners fighting pro se and organizers who fight back and win. Mind you, we are up against the biggest industry in the world: banking and finance.

This Court must address this. As Sarah McKee, a retired federal prosecutor and former General Counsel for Interpol for the United States, was Governor Patrick’s appointee for law to the Legislature’s Registry of Deeds Commission in 2013 points out: “I have never seen a foreclosure of a Massachusetts home mortgage that was legal.  And I have never seen a piece of legal work as dishonest as the SJC’s decision in Alton King. But what else do you call it, when the SJC manipulates the case name to make the very real Bank of NY Mellon the plaintiff, and makes Mr. King pay it $4,000 per month in real “rent,” when in truth the plaintiff was a fake securitized Trust, with no executed founding document?”

I join the undersigned here in Fighting Back! Not only do we commit to our petition, but if this Court does not rescind, we will be left with no choice but to flood the Mass Supreme Judicial Court with emails and phone calls! And protest til your knee is off our necks.

                                   “When We Fight, We Win!”