Help Tenant Leader's Vandalized Car

Crystal Lewis is organizing her community in Stonybrook Apartments, a multi-family affordable housing complex in Riviera Beach. Over the years residents of Stonybrook have watched the conditions of their apartment complex sink to unlivable levels. Tenants and their children have developed asthma due to black mold that has been ignored by property management. Babies have tested positive for lead. Sewage has backed up into sinks and bathtubs. People go months without hot water or AC. Laundry services have been closed for over a year due to a gas leak. This list goes on.  Over the years Stonybrook has been a political battleground both locally and nationally. The Mayor of Riviera City campaigned on promises to do something about the conditions. Marco Rubio even visited and was supposedly anguished by what he found. You can even find him on congressional record bemoaning the deplorable state of Stonybrook. Yet still, nothing changed. Nothing got better.

Residents that raised a fuss about the inhumane treatment of the tenants at the hands of management and their neglect of the property were quickly evicted. The people of Stonybrook are expected to accept their lot or find somewhere else to live, and in Palm Beach County where affordable housing is scarce and slumlords are plenty, many try to just make due in an environment where mere survival is the best one can hope for. 

Crystal and a group of other courageous tenants have decided they've had enough, and with seemingly nothing to lose they formed the Stonybrook Residents Council, a way for them to gather strength in numbers and change what the empty promises of politicians couldn't. One of their first orders of business was to have the management company remove the property manager. Quietly they passed around a petition, hand to hand, for weeks amongst the residents and when they felt confident they had enough signatures they presented the petition to the corporate liaison of the management company. Reluctantly they took the petition and rumor quickly spread this week that Friday will be the property manager's last day (according to the property manager herself). This person who routinely abused her authority and harrassed tenants would finally be gone. 

This morning Crystal found feces smeared near her front door and her car vandalized. When she approached management about any security camera footage she was met with cold indifference and told the cameras didn't capture anything. There were four security cameras in the vacinity. Crystal, being the head of the Stonybrook Resident's Council, is bearing the brunt of the retaliation for tenants not accepting the dehumanizing cruelty inflicted on them any longer. 

The Palm Beach Tenant's Union in partnership with the Stonybrook Resident's Council find this attack against a tenant for speaking out unacceptable. We will not allow any of our members or comrades to be harrassed or made to feel afraid for standing up for their basic human rights. An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us, and this goes for renters across the country. The working class has found itself in a completely imbalanced struggle against landlords, to whom the majority of our labor is spent trying to compensate in exchange for simple shelter. Still, for many landlords this profit is not enough, and they cut costs by letting buildings deteriorate and go without repair.

Crystal, like many working class people and women of color, works full time and does not have the funds set aside for this kind of incident. She's simply too busy trying to provide for her children and keep a roof over their heads, on top of trying to save the community she lives in.  She has been organizing the tenants for the past 6 months and in this timeframe this is the 3rd retaliatory act of vandalism on her car.

We ask that you please join us in our effort to support our amazing friend Crystal. Anything you can give to help her right now would go a long way to easing her mind as she struggles to overcome the indifference of HUD, politicians, and a billion dollar real estate company that doesn't feel any urgency about children inhaling black mold spores in their sleep. 

Solidarity and Love, Crystal. We hope this helps.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Yung Gramsci
West Palm Beach, FL
Crystal Lewis

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