Date of Graduation

Spring 6-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs


College of Arts and Sciences


Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

First Advisor

Timothy Redmond

Second Advisor

Diana Negrin


This paper contributes to the scholarly work on grassroots housing movements in the United States. More specifically, I explore how Moms 4 Housing’s activism challenged urban displacement regimes and offered pathways towards the human right to housing. My analysis of their movement reveals that they utilized three principle strategies to articulate their movement and push the agenda for the right to housing: 1) the use of corruption narratives to confront the state and urban speculators, 2) the application of “motherhood” as a political identity and a rights-based framework to challenge the capitalist property regime, and 3) direct action to shift and reclaim dominant notions of personhood and property. Their movement to highlight the violence of Oakland’s speculative housing crisis is deeply rooted in long histories of colonial and racial capitalist dispossessions in the United States, as well as the racialized production of property and Blackness. Therefore, a serious consideration of Moms 4 Housing’s movement requires the development of substantive housing agendas and legal frameworks that fundamentally decouples property from the racist and market-driven financing of housing and mend from the legacies of colonization and dispossession by eliminating real estate speculation, scaling up the work of land decommodification, and recognizing the human right to housing and land reparations.