MLK and Debt

Jan 17, 2020 | News

My work has one focus- working with people in debt. With Martin Luther King Jr. day coming
up, I was curious to see if he had, or how he had, addressed the issue of debt in his work. Turns
out it was a pivotal concept to him, but not in the literal dollars-and-cents, credit card debt or
mortgage payment type of debt my clients have. Dr. King asked us, in his I Have A Dream
Speech, to step back and look at the “check” that had been written to African Americans, and
observed that it came back “marked insufficient funds.

There was a great article in the Washington Post in 2011 that analyzed the references
to debt in that speech. King invoked the promise (“the promissory note”) made to African
Americans by the Emancipation Proclamation- that they would be given equal opportunity to
pursue happiness in the United States- and challenged the country to make good on the dream.

Fifty-seven years later, African Americans still have a fraction of the net worth of white
Americans; they still earn less per dollar than whites; they have higher unemployment rates and
incarceration rates, all which hamper their ability to pursue happiness and opportunity. Despite
protections such as the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, banks are
finding new ways to discriminate in mortgage lending (to name one area of unfairness that
remains in place), which continues to prevent African Americans from building wealth. CLICK
HERE for a phenomenal- and infuriating- story about that ongoing trend.

I’ll be working on MLK day, even though it’s a national holiday, even though many are taking
the day to volunteer and find ways to honor the man and his legacy. I wonder if I, too, should
take the day off, but this year it will be spent working to save my clients’ homes from

This may be one small way to make good on that check.

Latest in Articles

I’ll talk to anyone who is currently behind on their mortgage, thinks they may not be able to afford their mortgage in the coming months, or is already in foreclosure. The earlier we talk, the more options you have.

… Sarah Poriss.

Sarah Poriss, Attorney at Law, LLC is the largest woman-owned foreclosure defense law firm in Connecticut, providing homeowners with quality legal counsel in foreclosure mediation and foreclosure defense.

Working at Consumer Law Group in Rocky Hill, Connecticut for four years, Sarah specialized in representing consumers facing financial crises like debt collection harassment and identity theft. Upon opening her own office, she expanded her focus to defending consumers sued by credit card companies and representing homeowners in foreclosure.

Sarah has elevated her practice by exclusively representing clients with money issues. She played a crucial role in drafting foreclosure mediation rules as a member of Connecticut’s Bench-Bar Foreclosure Committee for seven years.

Additionally, she contributed to the Bench-Bar Small Claims Committee to enhance clarity in small claims proceedings and ensure debt collectors provide substantial evidence to win cases.

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