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Papa Bear’s final report: ‘A lot of people are dying’ on Frisco streets

March 24, 2014

by Papa Bear with Leontyne Smith, Poor News Network

Papa Bear transitioned to his spirit journey on or around March 10. POOR Magazine will be holding a humble homegoing ceremony for him on the street corner where he lived and worked at Geary and Van Ness, San Francisco, on Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. Bring a flower or a prayer to share.

Papa Bear at Community Newsroom by PNN
Papa Bear at Community Newsroom – Photo: PNN
Papa Bear, a survivor of the U.S. military industrial complex and the poor people hate law called sit-lie, which makes it illegal to sleep or sit on the street while poor, shared his monthly reports of living and working as a panhandler in the racist, classist streets of Amerikkka every month at POOR Magazine’s people’s newsroom we call Community Newsroom. Here is his last report, translated by PNN poverty skola Leontyne Smith.

As people know, Papa Bear comes to newsroom every month with a report straight from the streets of Frisco – as tired as he is from panhandling all day and getting harassed by the police. He said recently the police have expedited their patrols to every three to five minutes. They are taking photos of the dope dealers and beating them up.

As he talked about the usual stuff that goes on in the Tenderloin, he brought up the problems with power washing. A lot of people are dying because of the chemicals that the Department of Public Works puts in their washing solution. Some people think this is happening on purpose to demean the homeless and make them know they are supposed to be inferior.

I read on Google the only harm that happens to the homeless is self-inflicted, and they should just die without food and shelter. This month at Newsroom the news about how homeless folks in the room are getting treated is absurd. At shelters they make you sign in at 5 o’clock in the morning and you are never guaranteed a bed. They are usually infected with bed bugs, which are really hard to get rid of and usually you get bites all over your body almost instantly.

Papa Bear at Community Newsroom-2 by PNN
Papa Bear regularly reported on the criminalization and cruelty toward homeless people on the streets of San Francisco. – Photo: PNN
Other people in the room talked about how the staff are worse than the clients, and they do not care. Being that I have been working with Poor Magazine, I talk with a lot of people were homeless and/or living in low income housing, which in itself costs way too much now.

At the end of Papa Bear’s update, he talked about getting another warrant, which is No. 19 now, and he is aiming for 20. Police have broken his ribs for sleeping on the streets and now they are even closing parks just to give homeless people a hard time.

Golden Gate Park closes one hour before midnight, and that is making trouble for people enjoying the earth and people who need to sleep there too. Parks are nature, and that is something that brings peace and contentment of mind.

I used to love writing in my journal in the cuts of the trees in Golden Gate Park when I was a teenager. That was my escape from everybody and everything. It was like hiding out in a little forest where nobody could find me. There’s something about breathing in the trees, flowers and the beautiful plants.

I am not homeless, yet I am seriously mad as hell because nature is a safe haven for some people. Papa Bear has been homeless for a long time after serving his country for half his life, and what does he get? Racism and warrants, wow.

Leontyne Smith is an activist and journalist with Poor News Network. She can be reached via deeandtiny@poormagazine.org. Visit POOR at www.poormagazine.org.

Papa Bear on sit-lie laws

I’m Papa Bear. That’s my alias. My real name is Abdullah. What’s coming down on the street – I know you’ve seen it in the papers – is sit-lie laws are starting to be enforced in the Haight area and big time in the Tenderloin.

Papa Bear altar 0314
A loving memorial altar at Papa Bear’s corner – Photo: PNN
The shelter beds were full. I slept in an alley. I was arrested. I had to accept the judge’s ruling: one year probation and a stay-away order from the alley I slept in. If I’m caught in the alley I slept in, I get a year in county jail.

Having your freedom taken away is the worst thing that can happen to you. Someone telling you what to do. I’m my own man.

I’m a double vet. I spent two years in the army, two years in the Marines and too many years in Vietnam. I fought hard and worked hard for this country. I died for this country. In Vietnam, I woke up on a cot and they took me to surgery for 56 hours. I’m still hurting.

Sit-lie law is no joke. They are promoting it big time. Enforcing it big time. In the Tenderloin, there are more black and whites (cop cars), more undercover, and everyone is enforcing sit-lie.

People are scared. They’re terrified. You want to speak out, but people are scared. So many undercover, people are like, “Man, we scared.” But you got to go to sleep soon. Where you gonna go?

 

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