by Elie Feasley and Frotchy (Baltimore-Washington NEFAC)
At 3pm on Thursday, February 19th, fifty members and supporters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) gathered outside a boarded-up rowhome in Highlandtown. ACORN representatives handed out t-shirts printed in black, red, and white proclaiming a foreclosure-free-zone as the crowd of supporters grew. Followed closely by reporters and news cameras, the group used a pair of boltcutters to remove a padlock, broke down the door, and entered the house. Louis Beverly, an organizer with ACORN, declared, "This is our house now!" after cutting off the lock. The house was formerly owned by Donna Hanks, a fiery woman who has seen her life turned upside down by an adjustable rate mortgage and mounting bills. She was evicted last month after falling victim to foreclosure. Clearly exhausted and embittered, but eager to continue the fight, she proclaimed, "This place is gutted. This is wrong." She will soon begin moving back in to the house. Before they left, ACORN replaced the lock on the door with one belonging to Hanks.