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May 4, 20

Omaha, NE: May Day Protests Demand Rent Cancellation

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Reportback on May Day actions in Omaha, Nebraska.

The morning of May 1st, the Omaha Tenants United participated in a demonstration at the homes of the Omaha mayor and two city councilmen. A red banner read “Evictions = Death” and letters were taped to front doors of Omaha mayor Jean Stothert, and councilmen Chris Jerram and Pete Festerson demanding that they take action to address our eminent renting crisis exasperated by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Along with this home demo, OTU joined the Nebraska Left Coalition in a protest caravan of approximately 50 to 60 cars waving red and black flags and displaying signs calling for rent cancellation and a continued rent strike that snaked through the metro and circled City Hall.

The OTU letters left at the city officials homes asked, “Do you stand with the vast majority of your constituents who are tenants and bank tenants? Or do you only stand with property owners and developers who displace working class people and drive up our living costs for the profit of a small few? Do you think the most vulnerable – renters, working class people, and the homeless – should bear the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic? COVID is putting millions of lives at risk. You have one responsibility – to keep people you represent alive and healthy. By cancelling rent, supporting a demand for continuing the eviction moratorium, temporarily freezing rent hikes, and housing our unhoused neighbors, you will be finally doing your job. Which side are you on?”

DEMANDS:

DURING PLAGUE = NO EVICTIONS!: No evictions, for any reason, punishable by law, until the COVID-19 crisis is over. During a pandemic, forcing more people into their friends and families’ homes, or into homeless shelters promotes the spread of the virus and puts more lives at risk. Eviction = Death.

CANCEL/FORGIVE ALL RENTS!: Immediate rent cancellation and forgiveness. At the end of the crisis, no missed payment will be owed by tenants retroactive from March 2020. Meaning 2nd: No tenant debt, no back pay.

RENT FREEZE!: No increase in rent effective immediately. This will extend for one year following the conclusion of the crisis.

HOUSE, DON’T WAREHOUSE, THE UNHOUSED!: Meaning: As of May 1, the City of Omaha will take all measures necessary to provide a secure roof over the heads of all the homeless of Omaha. The homeless are amongst the most vulnerable populations to COVID, and leaving them without roofs over their heads, or in overcrowded shelters, allows the virus to spread rapidly.

Join Omaha Tenants United https://omahatenantsunited.org/join

Join Nebraska Left Coalition to help with mutual aid & food security projects. https://www.neleftcoalition.com

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