We Stopped the Eviction of Bertha & William Garrett

The Garrett family fell behind on their mortgage when the daughter was laid off and the father suffered a stroke. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust foreclosed and the eviction moved ahead. This was one of the very first actions of Detroit Eviction Defense. We, in coalition with a number of groups, began a vigil at the Garrett home. In January, 2012 a dumpster arrived on their street, but was prevented from being set down by cars and people in the street, blocking the way. Neighhbors came out to join in the defense of the Garretts.

William was legally blind and disabled and refused to leave the single-story Detroit house where the family had lived for 22 years. But his wife, Bertha was determined to have the home. She asked for a picket to be set up at the bank headquarters and laid her body down in front of the bank office doors: “I am not moving and we will not move!”

Faced with an organized and determined crowd in two different locations, the bank consented to a new offer: the Garretts would remain in their home.

Subsequently Mrs. Garrett and especially her daughter, Michelle, have come out to various DED events to show their support. “You helped us keep our home, I’m here to help them keep their homes.” This spirit of relying on ourselves, of helping each other by fighting together is the glue that holds our communities together.

Just about five years later Mr. William K. Garrett died–on January 2, 2017 at age 71. We in Detroit Eviction Defense remember and honor him.