by Vivi T, POOR Magazine
The “Stolen Land and Hoarded Resources Redistribution, Decolonization and Community Reparations Tour for Mama Earth and its Earth Peoples” was launched last spring by POOR Magazine, led by “Poverty Skola” Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE and fellow race, disability, indigenous scholars Leroy Moore from Krip Hop Nation and First Nations Ohlone warrior Corrina Gould of the Sogorea Land Trust. They plan to resume the tour in the coming months.
Along with many local Bay Area community allies, this nationwide tour kicked off in April in the wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood in San Francisco (Yelamu), later followed by a second tour on May 20 in the wealthy neighborhoods of Trestle Glen in Oakland (Huichin) and in nearby Piedmont, as houseless, working-class, privileged-class, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities walked in humility and prayer with guidance from ancestors from all four corners of corporate destroyed Mama Earth in an effort to seek monetary reparations through healing the sickness of “hoarded wealth.”
“I am walking for Luis Gongora Pat who was killed by SFPD, because he was displaced from his apartment and became homeless. He’s Brown and poor,” said Tiny, author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America” and co-founder of POOR.
With the increasing epidemic of wrongful displacement of long-time residents, both poor and working poor, and the rapidly increasing houselessness of communities who are currently under attack from high-speed gentrification, environmental racism, property acquisition for greed, hyper-apartheid incarceration, police terror and extreme displacement through state and local policies supporting these social injustices, including anti-immigrant policies, just to name a few. This tour is embarking on a mass movement to reclaim and redistribute stolen land, practice the act of decolonization and seek reparations across the United States in an effort to heal Mama Earth and all of her Earth Peoples.
During both walks, the community humbly and peacefully walked into “wealthy” neighborhoods, door-knocking, offering wealthy land and stolen resource hoarders a chance to begin the very serious work of “decolonization” by redistributing one or more of their hoarded and bordered stolen indigenous territories, buildings, homes, stocks, bonds, cash, extra pleasure boats and/or trust funds to landless and indigenous people in the form of what those at POOR Magazine/Prensa Pobre call “Community Reparations.”
Alternatively, if people are unwilling or unable to redistribute their stolen or hoarded wealth, these land-stealers and/or wealth-hoarders were then asked if they could begin an active dialogue with the community on the concept of “Community Reparations” for those most adversely impacted, such as landless, very poor and colonized communities.
On the first walk in San Francisco (Yelamu), beginning on top of a hill in very cold and windy rain on Earth Day, the prayer was powerful. Present were members of POOR Magazine, Krip Hop Project and the Sogorea Land Trust standing strong in unity with several local San Francisco organizations and well-known community members holding it down in song and chant while speaking truth with a deep and powerful vibration sailing in the damp wind as words, poetry and song, led by the beautiful spirit of the ancestors. This drew a lot of curiosity from those peering out from their perfectly clean windows of greedy grandeur.
After peacefully walking the streets of Pacific Heights as the sun began to appear, suddenly a wealthy young person came out of her home, wanting to see what she could do to reach out to the community. The walk ended in sunny Potrero Hill, where several community members with economic privilege read their amazing written pieces about how they were going to “redistribute” their trust fund savings in an effort to “redistribute the wealth.” This was truly the beginning of “herstory” making indeed!
In the second walks in Oakland/Piedmont (Huichin), on a very windy and blustery sunny day, prayer and song were heard throughout the neighborhood as all communities walked together to bring the attention of the wealthy communities to healing the sickness of wealth hoarding and to redistributing their “hoarded wealth.” Many community members from all parts of Oakland (Huichin) were present, including Auntie Frances of North Oakland.
As several community members knocked on the doors of several of the lush and beautiful houses in Trestle Glen – the same area where hipster mayor Libby Schaaf lives – most people didn’t answer. However, amazingly, one person did!
Dressed from head to toe in neatly pressed wealthy attire, a man opened his front door and intently listened to the community pitch the antidote for the disease of wealth hoarding and about redistributing and reparating their stolen and hoarded wealth to houseless people and First Nations movements, such as Sogorea Land Trust, when this man said, “What a beautiful idea! Yes, I’m interested.”
He then took an information flier. Amazingly, the following day, he emailed POOR Magazine, saying that he is interested in finding out more info bout the Sogorea Te Land trust with an interest to redistribute wealth and give reparations to them!
“It’s important for Ohlone people to be part of this movement, as we are unrecognized in our own land and suffered the first form of gentrification, aka colonization, had our languages and cultures stolen and are now displaced in our own ancestral lands,” said Corrina Gould, Ohlone land warrior and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust, the only Native woman-owned land trust in the United States.
In the “Stolen Land and Hoarded Resources Redistribution, Decolonization and Community Reparations Tour for Mama Earth and its Earth Peoples,” the two models that poor and displaced/houseless communities and First Nations communities are presenting is the poor people-led self-determined movement called Homefulness, located in deep East Oakland (Huichin Ohlone Land), and the Sogorea Te Land Trust, which is a Native woman-run land trust based in the land of the first peoples who lead it.
“One of the ways we can talk about people giving reparations is to give to the Sogorea Te Land Trust,” said Corrina Gould. In addition to these two models, the tour is planned to travel through other cities across Turtle Island (U.S.) where the descendants of settler colonizers will be asked to redistribute their excess and/or hoarded wealth and/or stolen land to First Nations people of the city or town where they “own” land or to support the launching of Homefulness models in that city or town for houseless people.
Those with more than one house, condo, income property and/or more money than they need will be asked to redistribute these resources to the very poor and houseless communities in Oakland (Huichin), San Francisco (Yelamu), Los Angeles, New York and beyond. The next tour will be in Ojibwe Territory (Minnesota). Look for updates at www.poormagazine.org.
Vivi T is an activist and journalist with POOR Magazine and Poor News Network. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit www.poormagazine.org and www.racepovertymediajustice.org. Photos by Noé Serfaty and Peter Menchini.