Senka Huskic is mad, very mad and wants you to share that anger. Think a "Network" kind of anger, a Howard Beale kind of anger, a genuine bona fide "I'm mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore" kind of anger.
What's she angry about? The ever-climbing foreclosure rate — at a time when the megabanks are continuing to show profitable balance sheets.
She's been shouting it out to anyone who'll listen. This forty-something Peabody, Mass. mother has a lot to be angry about. She was angry when her family was driven from their home in Bosnia, in 1992, at the start of that awful war. And she was angry eighteen years later when she ran up against B of A as she started trying to get loan modification for her mortgage.
Every notable historical battle that's pitted the outraged against the outrageous actions of the oppressors has had its Senka. In France, during the revolution you had Marianne – that symbol of reason and liberty — immortalized in Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People." During the Spanish Civil War you had firebrands Dolores Ibarruri, "La Pasionaria" and Frederica Montseny, rallying supporters in defense of the Republic against the assault of Franco and his cohorts.
Senka arrived in this country in 1995 with a hopeful vision of a much brighter future for her children. But she realized in the wake of the financial meltdown, that the field wasn’t exactly level and that homeowners weren't accorded the same sort of relief as the big banks. That didn't compute with her deep love of a country whose citizens, she felt, are by nature fair, kind, friendly and generous. So when it came to the robo-signing actions of the banks, the servicers, the GSEs, all the moving parts of the foreclosure machine, it was enough to get her blood boiling again.
Like a previous generation of 19th and early 20th century working-class activists, self-educated workers, Senka embarked on a voracious quest to understand the origins and backstories surrounding the current foreclosure mess, one that seems to still be getting worse by leaps and bounds.
"I don't understand why more people are not furious about what's going on," she's quick to note, and with a passion started blogging as a way to express the rage.
While her home remains in limbo with B of A, she's actively networking, 24/7, with others in the anti-foreclosure movement, sharing, planning and strategizing. She's the kind of activist that keeps megabankers up at night, their worst nightmare come true: a pit bull who won't let go until the fraudsters end up spending quality time at places like Allenwood, USP.
One group she's affiliated with – the Foreclosure Defense League — plans to start up educational workshops around Massachusetts in May with the goal of keeping homeowners abreast of the latest news on the foreclosure front: revelations, research and legal proceedings.
The group is also aiming to bring in homeowners who may be current on their payments, who may have successfully modified their loans, but whose mortgages were originated at a time when financial shenanigans were running unchecked. While safe in their houses for the time being, Senka says, there exists the distinct possibility that they may soon be sharing the same boat as their brethren already in foreclosure.
Now, if you really want to share Senka's sense of outrage, try these statistics on for size: A recently released Brookings Institution study reports that five years into the housing crisis, 2.3 million children have lost homes to foreclosure; another 3 million are at risk of the same; 3 million have been evicted, or are at danger of being evicted, from rental properties. "Children," the report highlights are "the often invisible victims of foreclosure."
Senka is one of many foreclosure fighters gearing up for a May Day spring offensive, replete with demonstrations, sit-ins, foreclosure auction disruptions, all planned as part of a broader strategy that underscores the need for a national moratorium on foreclosures. Activists are referring to it as a "freeze" and one that shouldn't thaw until a DOJ investigation — one with real teeth — is completed.
Joel Sucher, a filmmaker with Pacific Street Films in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., is working on "Foreclosure Diaries," a documentary about the financial crisis.