Cancel the Rents: No Evictions in Champaign County Rally

URBANA, Ill. (UI7) Yesterday afternoon, the Champaign-Urbana Party for Socialism and Liberation held a rally in support of cancelling all rents, mortgages and debts that have been acquired throughout the pandemic by Champaign County residents.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a two-month order that banned evictions in areas experiencing substantial spread of the coronavirus disease; however, the ban on evictions ended in late August.

Governor JB Pritzker extended the eviction moratorium in Illinois until October 3, despite The Supreme Court blocking the Biden administration’s order that would extend the federal eviction moratorium to the same date.

The purpose of the Cancel the Rents: No Evictions in Champaign County rally, organized by PSL, was to voice their concerns about the end of the eviction moratorium and to prevent residents of Champaign County from getting evicted next week while still being in debt to their renters.

PSL demanded that Sheriff Dustin Heuerman take action to prevent the imminent eviction crisis by refusing to carry out evictions until all debts are cancelled.

“Fifteen percent of Americans are behind on their rent and have an average rent debt of 3,700 dollars,” PSL member Arthur Paganini said. “The numbers here in Champaign County are very similar to all of the data we have collected which means that possibly thousands of people in the area are in danger of being evicted.” 

The eviction crisis will predominantly affect minorities such as people of color, immigrants and working class people in general.

“The evictions that we are seeing now, and the evictions that we will continue to see in the future, will cause homelessness, gun violence and COVID-19 cases to increase.” Paganini said.

For the past month, PSL has been canvassing in neighborhoods around Champaign-Urbana that are the most vulnerable to evictions and connecting with people in need of rent assistance who are looking to organize and form community networks in order for their demands to be heard and met by the government.

“I do not think you need to be a socialist to care about the cause. I just think you need to have empathy for people and want to see better for the community,” Volunteer for the Radical Education for Democracy club at Urbana High School Emily Sanders said. 

Sanders was one of many speakers that spoke at the PSL rally in support of extending the eviction moratorium in Champaign County.