Tenants Gather for Life Over Rent Rally

Zack Haber
4 min readSep 8, 2020
Jourdan Sales (far left) of JDW Tenants Union speaking to tenants at the Life Over Rent / Nuestrxs Vidas Si Renta No rally in front of the Alameda County Courthouse on September 5. Photo by Zack Haber

About 175 tenants gathered on the steps of Alameda County’s Superior Courthouse for a rally called Life Over Rent / Nuestrxs Vidas Si Renta No on Saturday September 5 from 3 pm to 5:30 pm.

A Facebook invite for the rally claimed “Our needs come before our landlord’s profits” and showed that five different tenant unions organized the event: Tenants and Neighborhood Councils (TANC), SMC Tenants Council, Lonay Tenants Council, Village Residents Association at UC Berkeley Family Housing and JDW Tenants Union.

The invite also listed three goals: canceling rent during the pandemic, recognition and negotiation from landlords of collectively organized tenants, and prohibiting all evictions and expanding unemployment and food stamps for those hit hardest by the pandemic.

Although the day was hot with temperatures in the upper 80s and 90s, the courthouse provided shade which tenants sat in as they listened to about a dozen speakers representing different local grassroots tenant, labor, and housing justice groups. A march was planned, but it was cancelled as smoke increasingly blew into the area. Tenants held signs, mostly in red, some of which read “EVICTIONS = POLICE VIOLENCE,” “BLACK LIVES MATTER, BLACK TENANTS MATTER,” “HOMES FOR ALL, WE WON’T WAIT” and “LANDLORDS MUST NEGOTIATE.”