On a clear, unseasonably warm day in early February, Tanya Dennis led about 30 people in a demonstration outside of a bank branch in Oakland, Calif. Dennis and the group were there in support of 77-year-old Katie Mitchell and her family, who had entered the bank minutes before to request a modification of her home loan.

Dennis hadn’t planned to be an advocate or an inspiration for San Francisco Bay Area homeowners facing foreclosure, nor did she want to be one a year ago.

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