Bloomington man faces eviction over Black Lives Matter banner

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A Bloomington man is facing eviction after hanging a black lives matter banner on his balcony.

Donavon Burton says he’s in a catch-22 after being handed a 10-day eviction notice. He says he doesn’t want to leave his home- where he is raising his infant son, but he also wants his son to know what he stands for.

About a month ago Donavon Burton says he hung this black lives matter banner up at his apartment complex on Clobertin Ct. While other tenants in the building support the idea, he says his landlord, First Site, doesn’t.

“They’ve reached out to my boss, and talked to him to have me take the flag down,” said Burton. “It is a little scary, it is a little nerving, but I don’t think because it is a big company, that me a minority that doesn’t own any property, can be taken advantage of.

He says two weeks after putting the flag up the Vice President of First Site Ulises Napoles, came to his apartment while he was at work and took it down, without warning.

“I reached out to Ulises and told him, I looked over the lease and I didn’t think there was anything against me hanging a flag,” he said.

The part of the lease he is talking about is on page 3 of his agreement.

It states “Please keep your balcony/patio free of clutter at all times. Please do not store any personal belongings or furniture on your patio/balcony.” Burton says, nothing in that statement has anything to do with a banner, so he got a lawyer, and she believes this was discrimination.

“Unfortunately, this is a standard procedure for a lot of landlords to discriminate based on race, by claiming that it is something else,” said his attorney Ruth Wyman. “Tenants have personal property out on their back porch, but the landlord is not enforcing this rule or regulation equally on other tenants, and that’s where the racial discrimination is coming in.”

Burton says, he doesn’t want to attack first site but he also doesn’t want his voice to be muted.

“I’ve never said that they are racist at all,” said Burton. “I recently had a son, my son is also multi racial. I want to advocate for his safety for his rights, and I want him to maybe see an example some day of something he should stand for.”

WMBD reached out to First Site but they have yet to respond.

Burton has filed discriminatory complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as, with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

According to the notice he is supposed to be evicted on Thursday, but his lawyer says they are willing to fight that.

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