Riverdale after the Eviction

Personal Account of the Aftermath (6/13/12) – Returning to Riverdale Mobile Home Community last night, we were met with a scene of complete devastation. In front of the newly erected orange fence were the overturned murals and signs that had formerly lined the roadway. Painted upon parts of the roofs of abandoned mobile homes by children of the residents, their parents, and volunteers, the signs laid dismantled and broken in large pieces strewn across the front lawn. The statements on them, “Communities supporting communities,” and, “I am a mother, father, sister, brother, granddaddy, grandma” were messages directly from the residents. One of the rooftops that had stood for over a week, with its satellite dish still attached and bearing the words, “This was a home,” was buried beneath the other signs, its satellite jutting out from the rubble.

Three security guards were stationed on Mark Lane in a car. They were positioned in the same spot that we had held for twelve days, yet instead of keeping watch over the preservation of a vibrant community, these guards were defending the machinery that will begin today’s construction. One of the guards commented that the area looked like a "battle zone" following the events of the day.

We were allowed to walk escorted in the property searching for our tent. The few remaining residents were in tears sifting through various pieces of clothes and items that volunteers didn’t have enough time to collect before the gate was constructed, and we were forced out.

As we headed back across the makeshift gate, Chevelle, one of Deb Eck’s twin daughters, broke through the security officers on her bike to present us with beautiful red tiger lilies.

"For you," she said before riding off. The gesture seemed to affect even the security officer.

“You should put it in your hair,” he said.

Passing through the gate to my car, I thought about how quickly we forged a very real community made up of residents, their families, volunteers, and neighbors. We planted gardens, constructed outdoor stoves, and cleaned up debris leftover from trailers that had been stripped for parts to give families some extra cash for the moving expenses. I thought about how we incorporated roofs and any building materials into the murals, so that even the physical components of the park contributed in promoting the preservation of this community. I thought about how “home” means more than a house – it is comprised of people, it is the land upon which we thrive. Many of us grew up on the Susquehanna River. And, then I thought about how our home had been violated. The Riverdale community invited us into their home, and in twelve short days, it had become ours. I thought about how quickly they tore it down. They threw over our barricades covered in children’s handprints, and then they erected a physical dividing line between the residents and all of us.

We left not because the police asked us to, but because they told residents that our continued presence would threaten the negotiation with Aqua America that we had all collectively fought so hard to take place. Out of respect for that vulnerable position and our continued deferment to the resident’s needs and wishes, we left Riverdale.

As we drove away, I looked back upon the space that had encouraged these truly unusual connections and relationships to form as community members and their supporters united to defend the Riverdale families. For the first time I saw the park as a destroyed community, but also felt hope in the community that was resurrecting in the ashes. We didn’t come to Riverdale to blockade, we came to support a community, and in that process we changed the landscape of community self-determination in this region. We forged relationships over class, generational, and cultural divisions. The things we hoped for from Riverdale were won before the eviction.

watch the video:

8 comments:

  1. This is a really sad situation.

    Earlier on Wednesday, there was a post giving suggestions about what we can do to help. One suggestion was to call Karl Kyriss, the president of Aqua America at 610-527-8000. (I did that, and asked the company to do right by the residents).

    Last Saturday, it was suggested that we write to the CEO at his home: Nick DeBenedictis, 231 Golfview Rd, Ardmore, PA 19003.

    It is very important to give us ideas of things we can do. Could someone post some more ideas?

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  2. For them it is just a negotiating technique. Isolate the residents. I know Kevin and the others just wanted to stay in their homes, but hopefully they and the many who left sooner will at least get a reasonable offer from Aqua. Had they not been so cheap and uncaring to begin with, none of this would have come about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The action at the Riverdale Mobile Home Park continues!

    Every afternoon, some of us are coming out to the site to let the world know that, just because the encampment is gone, this is not over! The press is still coming to Riverdale, and we need to as well!

    The Susquehanna River is more in need of our protection than ever, and the residents need to see that they have not been abandoned. The issues around this have not gone away, and neither have we!

    So, make a sign, and come out to Riverdale to protest. We still have the right to stand across the road from the sight and make a statement. Please join us this afternoon!

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  4. Riverdale was a huge success from a community building perspective. And that is gold if you ask me. We need to do this type of action everywhere we can. Riverdale is alive in more ways than it was. Proud of everyone who took time to come alongside those people.

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  5. The siege of Riverdale is symbolic of what is happening throughout America today. We are losing our liberties one by one because we have taken them for granted more and more after each generation. Because Americans in 1913 allowed the evil, private, institution of the Federal Reserve to be born, and, we have not rejected that evil, debt-building, interest-bearing, fractional reserve lending system since, we have been gradually losing our country through the incessant international banking, corporate, congressional, judicial, military-industrial complex Take-Over that makes-up the "new world order" Police State we are living in today. Remember, government does not live by reason, it lives by force. Our founding fathers understood that well. One Day, their descendants will have to relearn that lesson and act upon it in self-defense, or, perish. History is clear on that point. May God awaken and revive His people and save the American Republic.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and then there was the NSA law passed in '46 by Truman, that created a sub rosa government that has been responsible for at least 8 million deaths around the world - what successful strategy can be figured out to actually regain our country? There should be a plan, with step by step, realistically attainable goals, that would result in a country actually governed by it's majority and immune to money and power...

      We have a way of directly voting (the internet) on all major matters that concern us. We need to find the way to get that in place. We need a clever, brilliant plan, that will actually work.

      Delete
  6. Nice clips and videos sharing regarding information about mobile home community.....!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fine information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general,
    the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and good luck!
    home protection

    ReplyDelete

 

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