Homeless Organize, Stand Together and Win

2 Jul

I found this article on infoshop.org, is a good inspiration for the types of activism that we need to have happen, pretty much everywhere!

Homeless Organize, Stand Together and Win

HousingOn Monday June 29th, the City of Grand Junction tried to pass two emergency ordinances outlawing “soliciting,” also known as flying a sign or spanging. What stopped the city from moving forward with these laws was a strong, large, and loud group of homeless people and younger radicals.

On Monday June 29th, the City of Grand Junction tried to pass two emergency ordinances outlawing “soliciting,” also known as flying a sign or spanging. What stopped the city from moving forward with these laws was a strong, large, and loud group of homeless people and younger radicals.

No one came to support the law, and over a hundred people came to oppose it. Solidarity Not Charity (our FNB out here in GJ) provided food and water serving on the city halls lawn. Live tunes were provided by, local band Fast Food Kings, and out-of-towners Chicken Little, who were hell a cool about relocating from the infoshop to city hall to play.

The city voted unanimously against one statue and 5-to-2 in favor of the other one, but since they were trying to pass these laws without the usual democratic process they need to pass unanimously. The city will now begin the process of bringing these ordinances through the proper process.

While people ate food and listened to the music outside of city hall, and others were speaking to the council a banner appeared on an adjacent building that read “We are Everywhere.”

Those in opposition held signs during the meeting saying things like “Homelessness is not illegal. God Bless.” and “Will Work For Free Speech.” and “Asking For Help is Free Speech.” They also booed and cheered and were according to the GJPD Sergent ‘relatively civil.’

While stopping the emergency ordinances is a small victory, and the fight will continue. The big victory was that many people starting to feel empowered and starting to see some hope. It showed a lot of people on the street what is really possible if we stand together.

Little did the city know was that a coalition of radicals and homeless people had been forming quietly for months and were about to start publicly organizing and agitating for necessary reforms. Basically the city threw gasoline right where we were going start a fire. Next week Housing First! No More Deaths! will have its first mass meeting. Grand Junction Rising.

Housing First!
No More Deaths!
A Call to Action

The situation is critical in Grand Junction for those of us on the streets. Between constant police harassment, and unconcerned and uncaring city hall, more and more people on the streets, a severe shortage of shelter beds and transitional housing, a lack of quality healthcare, and the tightest job market in generations, there is very little hope for those of us without housing. Something needs to change, and nobody is going to do it for us. We must act on our own. We must act together – shoulder to shoulder – to demand our rights as citizens and humans.

This last winter we lost a lot of friends on the streets. This upcoming winter we will lose even more of our friends, unless we do something about it. To save our friends’ lives and our own we must be willing to act. We must organize. We must take risks. We must put unused buildings to good use, keeping our friends and family warm. We must be able to stand together and demand, “No More Deaths on the Streets of Grand Junction,” and we must mean it.

The city and the police have essentially made being homeless illegal. It’s illegal to sleep anywhere if you’re not lucky enough to get into the shelter. It’s illegal to camp. It’s illegal to smoke in the park. When the public bathrooms are closed there is nowhere to legally go to the restroom, and not to mention selective enforcement of petty laws against us. How are any of us going to get off the streets with piles of petty tickets and fines to pay off? Haw are “Smoking in the Park” tickets serving the community? One or two of us on our own could never hope to confront this unjust ‘justice system,’ but all of us together can. We can picket the city or PD and put them on notice and back them off from being overly aggressive. We must demand a legal place for us to camp, without fear of a trespassing ticket or the city taking our stuff. The current situation must change, and only all of us standing together as one and speaking with one vice will ever hope to change the situation.

We are pretty used to getting the short end of the stick from employers, the media, police, banks, hospitals, judges, and government etc. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are times when ‘we the people’ have taken just about enough crap from the powers that be, where we can start to organize and stand up. If we work together with courage, strength and love in our hearts we can begin to push back against a system that has for a long time been waging war against us. Is it going to be easy? no, but it’s not impossible. And right now those seem to be pretty good odds. No more deaths!

General Meeting
everyone welcome
Whitman Park
Tuesday, July 7th
10:00am
Housing First!
No More Deaths!

Our Demands:

* No More Deaths!
* Housing First! Housing Now!
* Homelessness is not Illegal
* Food, Water, Healthcare, and Housing are basic human rights

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