Building Skills and Leadership

By Billy Trice Jr.

BillyTriceJr_MemberArticle_Both-1I’ve been a member of Causa Justa::Just Cause since 2000. I first got involved in the work to get a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance passed in Oakland. This ordinance, called Measure EE was going to require that landlords have a reason before they evict tenants from their property. I thought this was a really important tenant protection to have in our city so I did a lot of phone banking and precinct-walking to help pass the measure. It was a long and hard fight but I was really proud when it we won.

After my work on Just Cause Eviction protection I decided to stay involved in the organization. I felt like I was learning a lot from the work and that the organization spoke to my beliefs.

My years with CJJC have taught me a lot about the way housing issues are affecting African American, American Indian and Latino communities in this country. I learned that the challenges that many of us face in our housing were not created by us. The housing crisis that displaced so many of my neighbors in East Oakland was the reason why I have been involved in CJJC’s campaign to fight foreclosure.

My family was affected directly by this issue three years ago as well, when the bank threatened to foreclose on the home we have lived in for many years. CJJC helped my mother and I stand up to the bank and fight for a loan modification. Today we are still in our home. I am glad that the organization helps community members directly confront decision makers about what they are doing to us. It is very important that CJJC allows us to talk to our Mayor, city council and even the big banks. With CJJC you don’t have to be rich to be a leader in your community and hold banks and government accountable.

In addition to the work I do on the foreclosure campaign, I also coordinate our monthly member mailing. Every month we send out information about our work and a calendar of events to all our members in San Francisco and Oakland. This is really important work because it is a way to get our message out to people in the community.

I work with the staff and other members to make this happen every month when we have a “mailing party” to get this work done. Members like myself lead the mailing and many other types of work in CJJC and our skills and leadership are developed through the work.

I also make sure to bring information to the organization as well. For example I shared information about an American Indian crusader, Myron Standing Bear and his two teenage sons who have been struggling to get housing in San Francisco. I make sure that our membership is aware of important current issues that aff ect our lives. I feel that other people should become members of Causa Justa::Just Cause in order to preserve our multi-racial community and prevent displacement.