Singing Protests Will Return Tomorrow in Queens


For the past few months, The Voice has written about these protestors interrupting foreclosure auctions at supreme courts across the city by singing out loud. Dubbing it the “People’s Bailout”, the protesters believe their actions raise awareness to the country’s dangerously high foreclosure rate and the unfair court system handling such cases. And each time, specifically the last action in Queens Supreme Court on February 17, resulted in arrests.

Well, the next People’s Bailout is scheduled for this Friday (in Queens again), and it’s gotten religious.

Judson Memorial Church and Union Theological Seminary have joined forces to organize the upcoming action, giving the usual organizers, Organizing for Occupation (O4) and Occupied Wall Street , a break (not too big a break though…they’ll be in action Monday in the Bronx).

Runnin’ Scared spoke to Carolyn Klaasen, a 25-year-old student at the Union Theological Seminary who’s part of the organizers behind tomorrow’s blockade.

Why is the Union Seminary involved with this movement?
This is the first time we’re organizing as a seminary students. Our school has a long activist history, and some of us have participated throughout Occupied Wall Street. The foreclosure blockade is just one of the latest manifestation.

You participated in the last blockade as an individual, so was it important to you to get Union Seminary involved directly as a direct organizer?
We thought the nature of the action responds to the crisis in our community and we particularly like how it’s carried out with a sense of non-violence, so to me, it feels like a very religious experience. I mean, people are busy here so I can’t say most of the school are going, or even aware of, the blockade. But a good number of us will be participating.

The singing aspect makes it religious?
I come from a very religious position, so I’m very committed to non-violent actions. There’s something poetic about being arrested for singing.

Do you think these actions are effective though? Last month, after you guys were arrested, the court proceeded with the sale and sold all the properties rather quickly.
Even if we don’t stop the sale of that particular day, I don’t think it’s a lost cause. We drew attention to the fact that these foreclosure sales take place several times a week and most of it is unjust. The movement is growing and inspiring people. Perhaps other cities will start doing similar form of non-violent protests.

Would you say you prefer this specific action over the other protests that’ve gotten confrontational with the police?
I’ve participated in several actions, but yes I do think there’s something beautiful to this singing protests, that it’s completely non-confrontational.

The action starts tomorrow at King Park, Queens, at 9am. The foreclosure auction begins at 11am at Queen’s Supreme Court.


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