Community Organizers will March a Funeral Procession around Fannie Mae

CHICAGO, IL. -  On Friday, August 29th, community activists, friends and neighbors of Mary Ann Bonelli will march a funeral procession around Fannie Mae’s midwest regional headquarters, 1 S Wacker Drive, to honor Mary and to remind Fannie Mae that Mary’s demand to return her home to the community still stands. We will eulogize Mary at the entrance of the bank, sing radicalized hymns, march enlarged photos of Mary around the block in her wheelchair, and deliver a message to Fannie Mae.

Mary Ann Bonelli, retired Ward’s employee who became a housing rights activist, died earlier this year while still fighting eviction from the home her grandparents, Russian immigrants, bought 90 years ago in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago. This community became home to many immigrant families, mostly Latino, who have lost homes to discriminatory, sub-prime bank loans. Mary’s family fell into foreclosure when the bank failed to process automated mortgage payments, and then foreclosed on the home, offering no remedy to the family.

In Mary’s final days, her health and well being were profoundly impacted by the the fear of eviction and homelessness. Until the end, Mary worked to secure the donation of the home to a community land trust, rather than see it go to Fannie Mae, the bank that now claims ownership of the property. In recent years Fannie Mae, who made $85 billion in profit from the sale of foreclosed homes last year, has donated a small percentage of its vast stock of vacant, foreclosed homes to county land banks and developers. Increasingly, however, homes are being sold to investors over families, as prices increase and home ownership (like rent) becomes less affordable. Mary participated in a negotiation with Fannie Mae, in which the goal was to ensure that Mary’s house would continue to be affordable housing for the community for a minimum of 99 years, and also to create a donation policy for community organizations representing low income families.

Mary, whose husband preceded her in death, is survived by her sister; her nieces and nephews; friends, neighbors and comrades.

What: Funeral March to honor Mary Bonelli

When: Friday, August 29th, 1:30pm

Where: 1 S Wacker, Regional Headquarters of Fannie Mae