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Poor, homeless and disabled scholars are releasing a book sharing their truly innovative solutions to homelessness and poverty and launch a national theatre production on poverty, homelessness and criminalization of poor people. This book and curriculum release will be accompanied by a series of theatre and poetry workshops in community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities.
Unhoused residents of Berkeley who live in RVs and vans on the occupied streets of Berkeley (called Huchuin Lisjan by the Ohlone, the first people) wrote their stories in POOR Magazine’s Street-Writing Workshop held weekly on the corner of Eighth and Harrison streets. This powerful community, who call themselves Berkeley Friends on Wheels have dealt with harassment, politricksters and ongoing criminalization for doing nothing but living humbly and cleanly in their RVs.
“Nobody should be put out alone into this cold night,” said Benita Turner, mother of Jessica St Louis, who died after being released from Santa Rita County Jail at 1:30 a.m. on July 28. “We want to make sure that we are gathered here to remember that a woman lost her life because this institution thought it was OK to release a young woman at 1:30 in the morning,” said community organizer Sister Krea Cristina Gomez to the large crowd that gathered for the vigil.
“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.
It’s because of this ongoing and increasing hate, othering, criminalizing and politricking that I and other poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine work so hard every day to manifest a homeless people’s solution to homelessness aka Homefulness. This hate and increased pimping/politricking is also why myself and other unhoused and formerly unhoused poverty skolaz are working on the Homeless 4 Mayor Campaign in San Francisco 2018.
We youth scholars from Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine submitted 14 Freedom of Information Act requests to 14 departments in the City of Oakland, only to receive a series of messages from two of the departments saying, “We have no documents,” and no word from the others. On Jan. 16, we will be making a demand to the City of Oakland and AC Transit that, with the money they received for BRT, they support Oakland residents to be able to stay here as reparations for the millions of dollars they are receiving to displace us out of here.
As the trial over the police murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, an innocent, unhoused Mayan father, husband, brother and son who was killed 18 months ago on the streets of San Francisco, approaches, the witnesses to his murder are mysteriously dying. One witness, John Visor, died in his single room occupancy (SRO) hotel room on Aug. 11. Last week another person related to the case also died mysteriously in his SRO room in the same hotel. “It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer.
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
“I’ll tell you … they really wanted that building to burn down,” said by one of elder survivors of the West Oakland apartment building fire, at 2551 San Pablo, which has taken four precious lives, hospitalized several people and displaced over 100 residents – disabled elders, community members and families with children – on a dark and cold morning on Monday, March 27, at 5:40 a.m.
“Even an animal doesn’t deserve to die the way they killed my husband,” said Dona Fedelia del Carmen, widow of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, a Mayan indigenous man killed by San Francisco police April 7, 2016, for doing nothing. For doing nothing, except being Brown and unhoused in a city plagued by the disease of capitalism and its sister illness, gentrification. “I am demanding justice and honor for my husband,” she concluded. The family asks everyone to join the march on Friday, April 7.
The snow shined against the afternoon sun. The multicolored flags bearing the images of our ancestors rippled and flapped in the afternoon breeze as the “Po’ Folx Delegation” from POOR Magazine and Decolonize Academy rode in on a rented four-wheel drive car. After a long, harrowing journey from Huchuin, Ohlone (Oakland, California), in two planes and a rental car we finally arrived to find an avenue of flags from hundreds of nations across Mama Earth, including our favorite, where we piled out of the car to take our first picture, the RBG flag of Black liberation.
Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
“Due to the multitude of lies and stereotypes that permeate our capitalist society about poor people and people of color, we all have collectively bought into the idea that we need to call 911 to be safe,” said Jeremy Miller, organizer and revolutionary family member of POOR Magazine and Idriss Stelley Foundation and co-organizer of the recent How to Not Call the Police EVER workshop.
“We are determined to get justice for our children,” said Sala-Haquekyah Chandler as she and other mothers stood outside the San Francisco courthouse where the alleged murderer of her son and three other young African sons in a quadruple homicide Jan. 9, 2015, was being tried. Had it not been for the endless resistance, marching, speaking, praying and fighting on the part of the mothers and families of the four murdered boys, this case would not have gotten this far.
Iris Canada, who just turned 100, was hospitalized early yesterday morning, just a day before the sheriff was set to evict her from the Page Street flat that she has called home for over half a century. She is in guarded condition. Ms. Canada, who made national headlines earlier this year with her fight to keep her home, was rushed to the hospital after seeing the sheriff’s notice warning her that she would be locked out of her place on Wednesday, Sept. 14. We are asking people to send emails urging that Iris be allowed to stay in her home.
Today and every day throughout this struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, I prayed in thanks to the spirit of my orphaned Taino-Boriken mama, the Ohlone relatives of this (Oak)land and so many of our ancestors from all four corners who I pray to every day, as word from Obama came through that he has finally listened to us all and suggested the halting of this corporate desecration called the Dakota Access Pipeline.
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” Moving in slowly like they were on a hunt, high-powered weapons pointed down, the descendants of slave-catchers aka police stalk an indigenous man crouching on Shotwell Street holding a soccer ball. They shout disgustedly and dismissively in English from the video screen; my heart stops. I try to keep watching, reminding myself I need to wear my reporter hat instead of my trauma-filled police-terror-from-my-life-of-houselessness blanket. We are watching the extrajudicial murder of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat by San Francisco police. Why did they kill him? “He was a homeless man.”
“No one in the neighborhood believes that fire was an accident,” continued Donald about the recent tragic three-alarm fire that completely destroyed 10 small and very small thriving businesses on 73rd and BlackArthur. Along with the eradication of people’s long-time rented and owned homes through all means of politrickster moves and paper trails which the youth skolaz reveal in their report, local businesses are under attack.