Callout: Join the May 1st Keep Your Rent Convoy!

 

Calling all Hamilton tenants to join the party on May 1st, as we fill the streets with a snaking convoy of distanced yet united parade-ready vehicles, in order to build and celebrate our power as tenants during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • When: Friday May 1, 2020
  • Meet Up Time: 1pm
  • Meet Up Location: Parking Lot Across from Nations at Jackson Square (111-115 Market St.)
  • Convoy Route: Our route will reflect tenant requests for the convoy to pass through your neighbourhood. Final details will be announced on Thursday April 30. **UPDATE: See below for finalized route.
  • Convoy Length: Convoy will last approximately 4 hours. Feel free to join for all or part of it.
  • Facebook Event Pagefacebook.com/events/842814216199893/

On May 1st, our landlords will again be asking us to hand over most or all of our income, savings, and temporary emergency government benefits, so that they can maintain their record level profits. Instead, tenants will be coming together to assert the needs of our own collective health and survival, with a resounding call to ‘Keep Your Rent!’

You may have already seen the Keep Your Rent truck driving through your neighbourhood, playing a jingle and broadcasting a loudspeaker announcement about our strength in numbers when faced with greedy landlords who are reaching for our money during a global pandemic. This time, we are building a whole convoy, with opportunities to participate both in the streets as well as from your homes! On May 1st, join the convoy!

HOW WILL IT WORK?

  1. Decorate your car in advance. Make a sign or some banners to hang or tape on your car. For example: “Keep Your Rent” or “No Wages? No Rent!” or “Food Not Rent” or “Cancel Rent”. Be creative! Add balloons and streamers to your car if you like. Make sure everything is securely attached.
  2. Show up by 1pm. Line up on the route, then drive and honk your horn. Drive safely, slowly, and obey all traffic laws. Make sure you have a licensed driver, and current registration and proof of insurance with you.
  3. Safety first! This will be a safe and physically distant action. Please do not exit your car. If you must, make sure to keep a 2 metre distance from others. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

CONVOY ROUTE

DON’T HAVE A CAR AND CAN’T JOIN THE CONVOY? OTHER WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:

  1. Request that the convoy pass through your neighbourhood. Email keepyourrenthamilton@gmail.com by WED APR 29, 5PM with your name and address. Let us know if you’d like to give a live speech if we make a stop at your building. We’ll arrange to get you a megaphone in advance and let you know approximately when the convoy will be arriving.
  2. Send in a recorded speech to be played on the loudspeaker during the convoy. Email the MP3 file to keepyourrenthamilton@gmail.com by WED APR 29, 5PM with your name and address. Tell everyone about the realities of living through the COVID-19 crisis as a tenant in this city, your frustrations with your landlord, the conditions in your building, etc.
  3. Put up Keep Your Rent themed posters in your window or hang a banner from your balcony to show your solidarity with tenants in your building, neighbourhood, and beyond.
  4. Bang pots or other noise makers from your building when the convoy passes by.
  5. Post about the convoy on social media. Post videos and pictures and tag them with the hashtag #KeepYourRentHamOnt.
  6. Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to get involved as well!

Things feel bleak for a lot of us, but working-class people have a lot of power in this position, if we can get organized. As our landlords clamour to sustain their cash flow by desperately pushing tenants to pay rent, the reality is that tenants across this city and across this country are increasingly saying ‘No’ to coughing up our rent money. Either because we can’t, or because we refuse to when our own survival and the survival of our families and neighbours is at stake. Tenants are demanding that landlords: cancel rent, cancel rent debt, cancel any evictions associated with COVID-19, and deal with tenants collectively rather than harassing them one-on-one. Tenants are in a position to set the terms if we act together ….

… ‘CAUSE WE GOT A GREAT BIG CONVOOOOYYYYYYY!

On Saturday April 25th, some tenants associated with the Keep Your Rent Hamilton campaign loaded up a truck with a sound system, some banners and set off around town to encourage renters in Central, Beasley, Durand and Corktown to organize with their neighbours and keep their rent. On May 1st, there’s a bigger cross-city convoy planned — join us!