Al Marshall is an SEIU member who was part of the group that tried to talk with Bank of America lobbyist Gregory Baer on Sunday. His lost his house to foreclosure. This letter is in response to Nina Easton's article in Fortune magaine.
Dear Ms. Easton,
This week I boarded a plane to come to Washington, D.C. for the first time in my life. I joined thousands of other Americans from across the country who came here to challenge Wall Street CEOs and their lobbyists who continue to profit at the expense of the rest of America.
I bought my home 12 years ago-a fixer upper in Oakland, California. I transformed that rundown house into a home for my children and my 94 year old mother.
Then when Wall Street crashed the economy, my wife lost her job, my hours were cut, and we couldn't afford our mortgage payments. I tried to make arrangements with the bank, but they refused to help. And they took away my home.
I will never forget the day the bank foreclosed on my home-I felt so embarrassed. I felt like I failed my family. It was heartbreaking to watch my children cry as we packed up our lives and moved out of our home.
But then I started sharing my story. And I realized how many other people were in the same situation. People who worked hard to buy their own piece of the American Dream-only to see it taken away because of the reckless policies of Wall Street.
I knew I needed to speak out.
I came to Washington, D.C. because the same banks that foreclosed on my home, the banks that cost my wife her job, are now spending more than $1.3 million a day lobbying against the American people. People like your neighbor, Gregory Baer, are using their insider connections to force Congress to choose Wall Street over the American people.
The banks won't negotiate with us. They just fight us. We went to Gregory Baer's house to share our stories and request that Bank of America and other banks help our families keep our homes. We were left with no other choice.
I could see how angry and upset you were, but I wish that rather than making snap judgments, you actually asked us why we were there. I can only imagine what you wrote today might have been different if you took the time to learn why we would travel thousands of miles to make our voices heard.