Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Poor people equated with animals while Mayor conducts Massive Homeless Sweeps of Golden Gate Park

Press Contacts:
Lisa Gray-Garcia, POOR Magazine: 415-863-6306, 510-435-7500 (cell)
For Immediate Release:

On the eve of the Summer of Love 40th anniversary San Francisco residents ask: Where is the love? and demand retraction of irresponsible journalism and hate speech
What: Retraction Rally and Press Conference
When: August 31st @ 12:00 noon
Where: The SF Chronicle Building @ 5th and Mission streets
Co-sponsored by: POOR Magazine, The Coalition on Homelessness and Western Regional Advocacy Project

“Where is the love?” Mary X 66, a houseless elder and a participant of the original Summer of Love “Love-ins” that took place in Golden Gate Park in 1967, asks the City.

In 1967 thousands of people flocked to San Francisco for “Summer of Love” celebrations and stood in Golden Gate Park together. Forty years later, the Mayor is conducting massive sweeps of homeless and poor folks from Golden Gate Park in an effort to “clean up” the City by eradicating all poor people.

These unconstitutional and un-loving sweeps have been supported in a series of Chronicle articles by former sports writer, C.W. Nevius who stated, “Forget coyotes. Do you really think your biggest concern is getting bit by a wild animal in Golden Gate Park?” in his article entitled, Here’s the Real Problem in Golden Gate Park.

In this column, which appeared above the fold on July 24th and many others, Nevius, not only equates poor people with “dangerous” animals, but also calls the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council recycling center a “cash machine” for homeless people that “may lead to illegal activity” (Recycling Center Near Golden Gate Park May Lead to Illegal Activity). In addition, in another article, Nevius refers to homeless people’s walk to the park, as the “march of the junkies” and wrongly accuses the needle exchange program of being irresponsible. (Golden Gate Park Sweep: Can City Make it Stick?)

This journalism is not just inaccurate and irresponsible, but also an outright attack on homeless people in the City, just in time to garner support for the Mayor’s longstanding plan to exterminate houseless people from the park.

“Nevius is producing irresponsible journalism that fuels hate for houseless folks” , said Ron Lipson a formerly houseless San Francisco resident…

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