My name is Marsha Godard and I was arrested by Bank of America on Tuesday, August 9th for attempting to turn in over 100 vacant property code violation complaints. Bank of America is the biggest forecloser in Chicago and Cook County and they own vacant properties that are open to trespass and havens for crime and violence. I was quietly waiting for a bank official to come down and accept the list of complaints, while my fellow Action Now members chanted and marched outside on the sidewalk. Rather than accept the list of violations, Bank of America, which is my bank, had me arrested for criminal trespass.
I was in shock. How can my own bank arrest me for trying to speak to them about vacant properties that are in my neighborhood and all over the city of Chicago? Bank of America is not only ruining the lives of homeowners, the safety of communities and America’s economy, they are now arresting people like me that question their destructive actions.
Though I have never been arrested before, I found that I was not afraid. I felt that in my own small way I was lifting a voice for justice. On Wednesday, August 10th I returned to Bank of America with more than 60 supporters from a variety of organizations. Once again, I attempted to enter the bank and drop off the violations, and this time I planned to close my account. Bank of America Vice President Pat Holden stood at the entrance door and refused to allow me to pass. Thursday, August 11th at 10 a.m. I will return to Bank of America and attempt once more to drop off the complaints and close my account.
Thanks to all of you for your support in the fight to make Bank of America follow the terms of the new Vacant Property Ordinance.