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Salt, grease and fried meat filled the air with just a hint of burnt sugar thrown in. My mind wandered to breakfasts past sizzling in a greasy diner. This time, however, I was on my bike, riding past an empty lot in East Oakland at 6:30 a.m. No houses or restaurants were remotely close. And then I saw the smoke and heard the sizzle. It was coming from one of a long line of late model Subarus, Hondas, BMWs, Acura sedans and even a Mercedes.
“We are surrounded by Black cops,” said Leroy Moore, with POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation, about the 15 Black cops who surrounded us houseless and formerly houseless mamas, uncles, children and elders from the Poor People’s March when we walked humbly into the Washington, D.C., office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demand our housing back. “We are here to meet with Ben Carson,” we all said.
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
To address some of the issues and provide relief for our trans and gender non-conforming loved ones inside – a coalition has formed to work on legislation benefiting trans prisoners. This year, the coalition is running SB 310: The Name and Dignity Act for Incarcerated Trans People. SB 310 is crucial to the safety and well-being of trans people. If passed, SB 310 would give dignity to people experiencing extreme dehumanization.
Homeless people and their allies will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 12:00-2:30 p.m., at Civic Center Plaza. They are gathering as part of Martin Luther King Day protests occurring across the West Coast, including Denver, Sacramento, Salinas, Oakland and Portland, to highlight increased criminalization of homeless people and to protect the rights of poor people, along with the Reclaim MLK Day 120 Hours of Action.
The No New SF Jail Coalition has been selected to receive the prestigious Hero Award by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and its Equity Advisory Committee. The coalition celebrated a monumental victory last December, when, after years of community organizing and advocacy, they persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject plans for a new jail in San Francisco.
The No New SF Jail Coalition’s position has been clear since day one – what San Francisco needs to keep its residents safe is housing, healthcare, mental health support, harm reductive substance use support, education, meaningful employment, community organizations, re-entry support and pre-trial diversion. NOT jails. We need you to call the Board of Supervisors, tell your friends and come out strong on Dec. 15. UPDATE: The vote to reject the new jail was UNANIMOUS! There will be NO NEW SF JAIL.
December is a big month for the jail fight. We have got to make our voices heard loud and clear: This jail is bad for our community and ill-informed policy. The mayor and his conservative allies on the Board of Supervisors are under pressure to push the jail plan through as soon as possible. They know we have been gaining strength, and that once January comes, with changes in the board composition, we will have the numbers to defeat this project. Let’s defeat it soundly.
RAD is the newest in a long line of multi-billion-dollar poverty industry ponzi schemes aimed at gentrifying public housing and leaving the poorest of the poor with nowhere to live. On Oct. 14, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who wrote RAD, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor London Breed held a back-slapping press conference to celebrate the implementation of RAD “to re-envision, revitalize and rebuild the city’s public housing.”
On Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), coordinated its West Coast Days Of Action across three states and 11 cities. From 2005 to 2014, WRAP has worked to build a large people’s movement rooted in and accountable to groups and individuals defending poor peoples’ constitutionally-guaranteed human right to exist in public space, acquire housing and employment, and enjoy equal protection under law.
The San Francisco Housing Commission meeting of Sept. 4 on a new acronym called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), code for selling public housing to private investors, was still. Still like a grave. A grave for all us poor people destroyed by the massive privatization of our public housing. Us unprioritized and barely housed, the forgotten elders and disabled folks, the very poor, the displaced, now houseless and rarely remembered.
Whack, tap, crack – the sound of the steel police flashlight on a car window is like no other, and it always had the same effect on homeless me and mama: blood-curdling fear. I thought about our constant police harassment, abuse and eventual arrest for the sole act of being houseless in Amerikkka when I heard about South Carolina’s “new” law that officially made it illegal to be homeless in downtown Columbia, S.C.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano has introduced a groundbreaking bill to protect some of society’s most vulnerable members. The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act (AB 5) establishes a foundation on which California can begin to build protections of the basic human rights of people who are homeless.
Residents of the Sunset district of San Francisco voiced support for a racist, classist, anti-poor people measure which would make it doubly illegal to park RVs and campers where houseless people sleep on the streets in the Sunset. To speak back to this legislation, call the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to oppose ‘Large Vehicle Parking Restrictions,’ Item 120142 on their agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 25.
For 17 hours – 4:45 p.m. Monday, July 4, until 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, July 5 – San Francisco Homes Not Jails took direct action conducting a second open housing occupation at the long-empty Mission District Sierra Hotel.
On Black Friday 2010, at 16th and Mission in San Francisco, Creative Housing Liberation held a “Housing Harvest” rally with songs and speeches followed by a tour of four vacant neighborhood properties. Creative Housing Liberation would like to invite “all kinds of folks, including families,” to be involved in future housing occupations and demonstrations.
Communities from up and down the West Coast that had planned to converge in San Francisco to demonstrate our immense energy and BE THE CHANGE this administration needs to do what is right have been denied a previously approved permit to gather – why? on the grounds that the rally will be too large. Is this a re-run of the rise and fall of the Poor People’s Campaign’s Resurrection City on the Washington Mall in 1968?