Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camp4Unity: The Video

Great video of Real Change Organizing Project campaign against police sweeps in Seattle, Wa.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stand Up for Justice: Witness Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Trial this Tuesday!!

Help us deliver the verdict afterwards!
Tuesday, June 24th from 1pm to 3:30

In the People's Court, this Tuesday, homeless New Yorkers will present our evidence to a panel of judges and a jury of his peers. The people will show that Mayor Bloomberg's disastrous Five Year Plan to Reduce Homelessness is not only failing to reduce homelessness, it is turning a blind eye to the causes of homelessness, and in many ways, promoting policies that perpetuate homelessness through gentrification, warehousing of vacant apartments and poverty maintanence.

Evidence gathered from the experience of homeless New Yorkers and from the Department of Homeless Services own statistics, <http://www.picturethehomeless.org/blog/node/38> the people will show the failure of this Administration to solve the housing crisis is a failure measured in wasted money, damaged lives and damaged communities.

Join us after the trial to loudly deliver the Verdict to Mayor Bloomberg!

Judges: Episcopal Archdeacon Michael Kendall
Brenda Stokely, Coalition to Save Harlem, NY Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors; Former President of Local 215, Social Service Employees and President of DC 1707, AFSCME.
Owen Rogers, Picture the Homeless leader, President of the Council of Black Catholics for Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

Testifyers: Leaders of Picture the Homeless, members of the New York City Council, faith leaders, and members of Community Voices Heard, and New York City Aids Housing Network (list still in formation!), and anonymous testimony submitted by Department of Homeless services staff.

St Bartholomew's Church
In the Chapel
Park Ave and 51st St
1:30 to 3pm

Call 646 314 6423 for more information or to volunteer!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sisters Of The Road & Street Roots deliver postcards asking for the repeal of the camping and sit-lie lie ordinances

Activists deliver 2,000 signatures protesting city’s ‘abhorrent laws’
By Joanne Zuhl
Staff writer

Advocates for people on the streets filled City Council Chambers June 11, unfurling nearly 2,000 postcards signed by residents calling for the repeal of the city’s sit-lie and anti-camping ordinances. The campaign to repeal the laws was organized by Sisters of the Road and Street roots. Patrick Nolen, community organizer with Sisters, addressed the council, including new commissioner Nick Fish, and called for the city to end what he called "these abhorrent laws."

The so-called sit-lie law draws its name from barring people from sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The camping ordinance prohibits people from sleeping outdoors on public property.
"Between these two laws, sit-lie and anti-camping, it is effectively illegal to be homeless in Portland’s downtown core," Nolen told the council. "The sit-lie law has been in effect since August 2007: Not once has a person who was not homeless been cited. Not once."

Nolen said the city’s own leadership admits that the city lacks enough low-income housing units and shelter beds to house everyone who is homeless in Portland, but persists in punishing people for "meeting basic needs: sleep and rest."
Sisters of the Road recently withdrew it’s membership from the Street Access for Everyone, or SAFE oversight committee, citing the continued enforcement of the sit-lie law, which the original SAFE committee recommended. The committee was established to address street disorders, such as aggressive panhandling, public intoxication and low-level crimes. In the process it re-instated a sit-lie ban, with the promise of establishing a day access center for people on the streets, and installing benches and bathrooms. Nolen, along with Sisters Associate Director Michael Buonocore resigned from the committee in May, saying the city has failed to deliver on those promises, while continuing to enforce the sit-lie law, which they say, targets homeless people. Buonocore said at the time that Sisters would like to have the committee vote to recommend a repeal of the law, but that there were not enough votes to support such a motion.

Soon after Sisters resignation, it partnered with Street Roots to launch the postcard campaign.

"These postcards come from all over, business owners, people living without housing, local politicians and citizens from every economic background,” Nolen said. “Each person that took the time to write is a murmur, a part of a louder voice, a louder voice demanding our rights."

Nolen said that similar laws are being challenged all along the West Coast.

"Each city, whether it is Fresno, Seattle, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, are all fighting to repeal laws that criminalize people for doing nothing more than trying to exist. Portland has a chance to be at the forefront of this march towards civil rights for all, because Portland belongs to all of us."
The Council made no comments on the presentation.

“We were amazed when doing outreach what a broad base of neighborhood activists, business owners and residents agreed with the idea that the sit-lie law and camping ordinance are human rights violations because they target a specific population in our society,” said Street Roots Director Israel Bayer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Huge success this morning, but it's not over!

Real Change, Seattle
June 9th, 2008

Last night, over 125 people filled tents across City Hall Plaza.

This morning, Women in Black read 283 reasons to keep fighting this fight...the 283 people who have died while trying to survive outside since 2000.

And just a few hours ago, fifteen committed people were arrested for pitching a tent in the middle of Cherry St., demanding that the city halt business as usual, while a crowd chanted support.

This morning was a great success for Real Change and everyone who has been working to stop these inhumane and punitive policies against homeless people. But we still need your support.

Right now, dedicated supporters are flooding the mayor's office with calls, urging him to halt all non-emergency sweeps, and open real negotiations with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless to fix his immoral and woefully inadequate policy. It's vital that the mayor yield to public pressure, stop punishing people for surviving outside, and work to create a policy that involves the people affected and provides for real accountability.

Please call the mayor at 206-684-4000. Tell him to halt all non-emergency sweeps immediately, and tell him to negotiate with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless for a policy that really protects the rights of those on the streets. Add your voice to the community's, and stop the sweeps!

Thank you for your support! And a huge thank-you to Women in Black, the Interfaith Task Force On Homelessness, Operation Sack Lunch, Food Not Bombs, Heroes for the Homeless, and everyone else who provided food, blankets, and moral support last night and this morning!


The Real Change Organizing Project

For more information about the Real Change Organizing Project contact Natalie
206.441.3247 X 206

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Anti-sit/lie challenge

Sisters of the road is leading the way to repeal sit/lie ordinance. (Full Article)