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California Penal Code 422.55 defines “hate crime” as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. There are multiple state hate crime laws that provide enhanced penalties for violating the rights of people in one of those protected groups. Recently, acts of violence against the homeless have been caught on tape and circulated on the media. They show that cities like San Francisco and Oakland should enact their own local laws adding their homeless citizens to that list of protected groups.
The story of how the Richmond Progressive Alliance took power – as of November 2016 with 5 of 7 seats on a weak-mayor city council – is eloquently and lucidly described by veteran trade unionist and labor journalist Steve Early. Early moved to Richmond late in life, but has now produced a compelling work that describes the halting process of holding Chevron and the real estate lobby accountable for its frequent misdeeds by building a dynamic multiracial coalition that eschews traditional party politics.
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
The Concerned Network of Women partnered with the United Council of Human Services, governed by Gwendolyn Westbrook and Dr. Betty McGee, to issue hand warmers and hot chili to homeless people. On New Year’s Eve, we visited the homeless living under the Cesar Chavez Freeway exit. While under the freeway, we witnessed an eviction notice dated Dec. 29, 2016. Evicting the homeless serves little purpose, other than further implying that homeless people have no human and/or civil rights. Here is one solution: Bring services to the encampment, not locks and chains.
NO PEACE UNTIL JUSTICE IS SERVED OVER THE POLICE KILLING OF 26-year-old MARIO WOODS, a HUMAN BEING, MASSACRED BY five SF POLICE officers on DEC 2, in the Bayview, on THIRD STREET, between Fitzgerald and Hollister, across from CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Third and Paul, where funeral services were held days later. SHOCKING to see a video, aired on TV, taken at the scene, of the killing!!! HORRIBLE – UNTHINKABLE!!!
With rents rising to astronomical rates and greedy nonprofit housing developers screwing the poor with minimum income requirements, including rents higher than what poor people can afford to pay unless they are subsidized by the Section 8 program, many poor people end up homeless and are living on the streets. Squatting has become one of the few options left for the working poor and impoverished.
As the CEO of United Council of Human Services, I am calling for full support of the homeless beds facility, which will benefit many working-class residents and other homeless citizens of Bayview Hunters Point. A homeless bed facility is essential in the neighborhood with the City’s second largest concentration of homelessness. We need your support in making the 100-bed facility a reality.
It’s a damn shame to see this sort of abuse of power, especially when you consider Mayor Lee, who was largely applauded for being the City’s first Asian-American mayor, was a long-time civil rights attorney. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, as many traditional civil rights organizations and leaders have turned the concept upside down.