Don’t Evict Aunti Frances!

Aunti Frances is a beloved Black disabled activist, elder, Black Panther and community leader who has lived in North Oakland/South Berkeley her entire life. She now faces a no-fault eviction at the hands of Natalia Morphy and Morphy’s parents, who are exploiting a notorious loophole in Oakland renter protections for their own personal gain.

Our goal is to show Aunti Frances’s landlords, the Morphy family, that this is not just a personal issue — this is a community crisis that will not go away quietly. There are so many options that will allow Aunti Frances to keep her home, and we are here to support the Morphys in making the right decision to drop this eviction. We turn to the public to show that there are communities far and wide who are ready and willing to #DefendAuntiFrances. And we aren’t going anywhere. You can’t evict community power!

DEFENDAUNTIFRANCES.ORG

Painting of Aunti Frances with the text “Defend Aunti Frances, you can’t evict community power!”

Join in on our community letter, signed by 50+ organizations, in support of Aunti Frances:

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Dear Morphy family,

We are writing in support of our dear friend, neighbor, and community leader Aunti Frances. We understand that she is currently facing an unjust no fault eviction from her home of eight years.

Aunti Frances has lived in North Oakland/South Berkeley her whole life and has dedicated most of her time and care to her community. She has touched the lives of many community members, housed and houseless, through her Self-help Hunger Program. She has helped transform Driver Plaza from a tiny patch of grass and cement to a fruiting edible garden and community hub. She is vital to the life of the neighborhood. She is a memory-keeper and storyteller who preserves our history even as our city faces so many rapid changes. She welcomes newcomers into this community with compassion and love — in fact many of us who have recently come to this neighborhood have been embraced by Aunti Frances and the community she helps cultivate at Driver Plaza. She is part of the glue that keeps longtime Oaklanders in their homes, fed and nourished, while pulling in new folks to join. If she loses her tenancy at 811 61st Street and is forced to leave North Oakland, it is certain that our block and our whole neighborhood will suffer a devastating loss.

We see this eviction as part of a devastating trend in which residents lose their housing because of loopholes in the law. Oakland law protects most tenants by requiring that landlords have a specific legal reason to evict them — a “just cause.” There is no such just reason to evict Aunti Frances. We believe that Aunti Frances, and all tenants, should be protected from no-fault evictions like this one.

We also know that, as a low-income disabled senior, losing her housing will have a deeply harmful impact on Aunti Frances. She cannot simply “find another place.” She will be displaced far from Oakland and her networks of support and care, and the impact on her health could be catastrophic.

We want to underscore the full impact of what is happening: an elderly disabled black woman is being displaced from her only affordable housing option in the city where she has lived her whole life.

Natalia, you have the power to change this situation, and change it for the better. You could just lower your ownership share by 1%, remove your name from the deed, or better yet, simply refuse to evict Aunti Frances. All you have to do is file one paper to withdraw the eviction. This would be a powerful act in the face of immense gentrification. And it would be a powerful act against the discarding of Oakland’s residents, and decades of inequity that have not allowed black residents to own homes. More than that, it would be an act of deep compassion towards Aunti Frances, a community anchor and longtime leader.

We welcome you to the block as a friend and ally — to work with this community to protect and nurture what has been here for generations. We hope your first and most powerful act will be to allow Aunti Frances to stay in her home.

We ask you to reach out to the group supporting Aunti Frances (defendauntifrances@protonmail.com) to find a solution to protect Aunti Frances. Many community organizations have offered to facilitate a dialogue. As you know, evictions move quickly, and we ask you to contact them immediately and set up a time for a conversation.

With hope and care,

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area

See full list of signatories here.