FYI: Strike Debt Helena MT proudly announces that Strike Debt's Rolling Jubilee Project abolished $13.5 million in medical debt on November 15. Celebratory events in five cities around the USA, including Helena. Thousands of people are better off today.

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Francis Kromkowski

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Nov 18, 2013, 1:40:04 AM11/18/13
to Occupy Helena Discussion List, Strike Debt Helena MT Discussion Group, Occupy Bozeman Discussion List

 

From: Francis Kromkowski [mailto:f.krom...@bresnan.net]
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2013 11:31 PM
To: Greg Lemon/IR Community Outreach Editor; 'irs...@helenair.com'; 'chuck....@lee.net'; 'mike.d...@lee.net'; 'mgo...@ap.org'
Cc: 'Jan Siemers'; Frank Kromkowski (gmail); Strike Debt Helena MT / Helena Economic Justice Group Working on Debt; 'pr...@strikedebt.org'
Subject: Strike Debt Helena MT proudly announces that Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee Project abolished $13.5 million in medical debt on November 15. Celebratory events in five cities around the USA, including Helena. Thousands of people are better off today.

 

 

Press Release from Strike Debt Helena MT:

 

Strike Debt Helena MT proudly announces that Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee Project

abolished $13.5 million in medical debt on November 15.

Celebratory events in five cities around the USA , including  Helena.

Thousands of people are better off today.

 

----------------------------------------

Strike Debt!Janice Ellen Siemers's photo.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strike-Debt-Helena-MT-Helena-Economic-Justice-Group-Working-on-Debt/181532472002490 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

Contact:

Jan Siemers (406-459-1348) of Strike Debt Helena MT — a Helena Economic Justice Group Working on Debt 

E-mail: strikedeb...@gmail.com

or Frank Kromkowski (406-443-0843)  of Strike Debt Helena

Facebook page of  Strike Debt Helena MT -- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strike-Debt-Helena-MT-Helena-Economic-Justice-Group-Working-on-Debt/181532472002490 

 

Strike Debt Helena MT proudly announces that Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee Project

abolished $13.5 million in medical debt on November 15.

Celebratory events in five cities around the USA , including  Helena.

Thousands of people are better off today.

 

Strike Debt Helena MT, a Helena Economic Justice Group Working on Debt, proudly announced on November 15th that the national Strike Debt organization’s Rolling Jubilee project abolished $13.5 million in medical debt. 

 

According to Jan Siemers of Strike Debt Helena MT, “Strike Debt, with donations from individuals across the county, including Montana, purchased and abolished $13.5 million in medical debt -- affecting 2,693 individuals across 45 states and Puerto Rico.   These debts ranged from $50 to over $200,000 -- including several accounts over $100K. These individuals will no longer have to pay this debt.”   The group informed the families whose debt was cancelled by sending them a letter that included the following  message:

 

We are writing you with good news: The Rolling Jubilee Fund, a non-profit
organization, has purchased your account. The mission of this project is to buy

and abolish personal debt, as it is our belief that no one  should have to go into

debt for the basic things in our lives such as healthcare, housing and education.

People across the country chipped in to help relieve some of the stress
associated with the experience of being indebted. As a result, you no longer
owe the balance of this debt. It is gone, a no strings attached gift. You are
no longer under any obligation to settle this account with the original
creditor, the bill collector, or anyone else.

                               http://strikedebt.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Sample-Letter-to-Debtors.pdf

 

Strike Debt Helena met to celebrate the 3.5 million dollar debt cancellation at a gathering with cake [picture attached] and conversation on November 15th, the one year Anniversary of the Rolling Jubilee Project. Strike Debt/Rolling Jubilee celebratory events will be held in five cities around the USA --- on November 15 in Austin, Texas, Helena, and New York and then on November 23rd in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco. The first Rolling Jubilee debt purchase and debt cancellation) was Fall 2012 when 44 Americans holding $100,000 dollars worth of debt had that debt abolished. The second was Spring of 2013 when 1,000 Americans holding $1 million dollars worth of debt had it abolished by the Rolling Jubilee Project. This third debt buy announced November 15 was much bigger. To date, the Rolling Jubilee Project  has raised $630,831  [as of 11/17/13] from many individual donations, and abolished $14.7 million in debt in four separate debt purchases. ( http://rollingjubilee.org/, 11/17/13)  Every penny donated has gone towards the process of buying and abolishing debt.

 

Siemers stated that “Thousands of people who had medical debt are better off today because of the November 15th action of Strike Debt’s Jubilee Project. The idea of a ‘Jubilee‘ for forgiveness/cancelation of unjust debts is a practice that comes from many faith traditions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A jubilee is an event in which all debts are cancelled and all those in bondage are set free. It worked in Biblical times and it can still work today, as in the Rolling Jubilee Project’s debt purchase and cancelations.

 

Strike Debt Helena member Frank Kromkowski explained that “Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. This means that lenders are perfectly willing to write your debts off; they’re just not willing to write them off to you. That is not fair and just. The Rolling Jubilee Project intervenes by buying this anonymous debt, keeps it out of the hands of profit-making debt buyers and collectors, and then abolishes it. Rolling Jubilee goes into this market not to make a profit -- but to help people help each other out and to highlight how the predatory debt buying and collecting system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

 

Siemers said that the reason Strike Debt has started this Rolling Jubilee debt cancellation initiative “is not just to help people suffering from crushing medical debt -- but primarily to shine a spotlight on debt collection wrongdoing within our economic system.  We do not think people should be forced to suffer twice, first from illness and then from medical debt. Today one in every seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector.  62% of all bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor,  77.5% of American households are in debt and over 40% of credit card debt was used for basic needs.  It doesn't have to be this way.’

Strike Debt Helena MT was founded in the spring of 2013, and has been holding Debt Crisis Education Workshops utilizing local experts since this summer  --  Housing Debt (August 22),  Student Debt (September 19) and  Medical Debt  (October 10).   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strike-Debt-Helena-MT-Helena-Economic-Justice-Group-Working-on-Debt/181532472002490   The three Debt Crisis Workshops were co-sponsored with the Montana Organizing Project, a  collaboration of 17 diverse community, civic, labor and faith groups and community members who have come together to form an organization that .actively works for economic, racial and social justice, promoting the dignity and empowerment of people with low and middle incomes whose voices have not been heard in their communities.  http://montanaorganizingproject.org/about/

What’s next for Strike Debt Helena, MT? 

·        Strike Debt Helena says they plan to hold additional debt and economic justice education workshops this winter.

·        They have Second Sunday “Debt and Justice Dialogues” scheduled for December 8 and January 12  (9:15 am at the Red Atlas Coffee Shop in the Lundy Center on Euclid Avenue).  The Debt and Justice Dialogues are open to all and are “informal, old-fashioned face-to-face gatherings in which we can all gladly listen and gladly speak, offering moral support, and sharing self-help resources for various types of debt .”

·         Strike Debt Helena members will be helping to conduct a statewide telephone survey on student loan debt here in Montana, and will continue to coordinate debt system resistance actions with Strike Debt chapters across the country.  Strike Debt Helena’s Jan s Siemers said: “Simply buying more debt is not going to solve the problem. The solution is collective action.  Debt is so devastating because it is treated as an individual burden. If we band together and work as a group we have more power. Helping to build that collective strength is the primary goal of Strike Debt.”

·        On November 21, Strike Debt  Helena MT will co-sponsor a talk by David Barsamian of Denver,, Founder and Director of Alternative Radio on the topic “Global Industrial Capitalism and Threats to the Environment.”

·        Strike Debt Helena member Jan Siemers will  talk about student debt issues at the next Lewis & Clark County Democratic  Central Committee meeting Tuesday, November 199th.

 

For additional background and information.

 

·        Facebook page of  Strike Debt Helena MT -- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strike-Debt-Helena-MT-Helena-Economic-Justice-Group-Working-on-Debt/181532472002490 

 

·        Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee Project commentary 11/11/20113 at http://strikedebt.org/rjupdate3/ and http://strikedebt.org/#more

 

·        Reuters news article 11/13/2103, “Occupy Wall Street buys $15 million of Americans' medical debt” By Elizabeth Dilts, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/13/us-usa-occupy-debt-idUSBRE9AC00020131113) -

 

·        RT America’s news broadcasts 11/14/2013 (“Occupy's 'Strike Debt' buys debt cheaply... then forgives it” at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaFGC8jGS3k) and 11/13/201313 (“Occupy Wall Street activists announce new elimination of $13mn of Americans’ debt”at http://rt.com/usa/occupy-activists-debt-elimination-625/)

·        Website of  Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee: -- http://rollingjubilee.org

 

·        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=240523359436734&set=a.210690912419979.1073741829.181532472002490&type=3&theatehttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=240523359436734&set=a.210690912419979.1073741829.181532472002490&type=3&theate – Picture of  Helena’s November 15 debt forgiveness cake  (“13.5 Million”) at Strike Debt Helena MT’s Facebook page

 

·        Democracy Now! news broadcast 11/15,/2102: “Rolling Jubilee: Buying Up Distressed Debt, Occupy Offshoot Bails Out the People, Not the Banks” at http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/15/rolling_jubilee_buying_up_distressed_debt

 

 

cid:image002.jpg@01CE9FD8.D82F64A0                                                                cid:image006.jpg@01CE9FD8.D82F64A0

 

 

STRIKE DEBT HELENA MT -- a Helena Economic Justice Group Working on Debt : A Helena grassroots action  group working  for economic justice and debt solutions for the 99%,  bringing people together to promote creative community remedies for the debt problems we face as individuals, families, and as a  community.  Phone: 406-459-3148 or 406-443-0843Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strike-Debt-Helena-MT-Helena-Economic-Justice-Group-Working-on-Debt/181532472002490   E-mail: strikedeb...@gmail.com. STRIKE DEBT HELENA MT  is a local Chapter of Strike Debt: http://strikedebt.org/ and is an offshoot of Occupy Helena.

 

 

 

 

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