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April 1, 2012: From Union Square in NYC to Union Square in San Francisco

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On Sunday, April 1st , community groups in 15 cities throughout the U.S. and in Canada will participate in simultaneous demonstrations, street theatre, music and dance performances, direct action, and public education in defence of poor people’s Right To Exist in public spaces.
If ever there was a time to organize, it is now!

1982 marked the beginning of a new homeless “crime wave” that has consumed the efforts of U.S. police forces for the last three decades. National crime statistics now include millions of homeless people whose “offenses” were sitting, lying down, hanging out, and—perhaps worst of all—sleeping in public spaces. Reviewing just one city‘s example, at the end of 2011 these new crimes comprised roughly one-third of all prosecuted offenses in San Francisco.

“We all suffer from governments that waste resources and refuse to develop real solutions to social problems, but the people whose survival is criminalized suffer the most,” said Paul Boden, of Western Regional Advocacy Project and one of the key organizers of the day of action.

Property and business owners are creating private “Business Improvement Districts” (BIDs) to police downtown areas across the country. The stated goal is to "improve" these neighborhoods for "visitors and businesses." The effect is to remove “undesirable elements” from downtown business and tourist centers. BIDs hire security teams (sometimes ironically called Ambassadors) that patrol public spaces, often augmented by off-duty, uniformed officers with full police authority.

Over the past year WRAP has compiled and documented the interactions of 716 homeless people with local police, private security guards, and the criminal justice system. All respondents participated in the surveys for the opportunity to speak “unfiltered” to the broader community about what is really happening on our nation’s streets to poor, disabled, and homeless community members.

More than three-quarters of survey respondents (79%) reported being harassed, cited or arrested by police officers for sleeping, and (77%) for loitering or simply “hanging out.” Seventy-five percent (75%) reported the same for sitting or lying down. These were far and away the top crimes for which homeless people were charged. A sad corresponding fact is that only one quarter of respondents (25%) knew of safe, legal places to sleep.

Help kick off a national social justice organizing campaign to stop the criminalization of poor people everywhere!

If ever there was a time to organize, it is now!

Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)

USA/Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI)

Contact:

Paul Boden (WRAP) (415) 430-7358

Rob Robinson (USACAI) (646) 509-9986

 

Actions April 1 2012 in USA-Canada

Berkeley CA - Contact: Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency - Janny Castillo  (510) 649-1930

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Attending San Francisco’s event, Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Charleston, WV - Contact: Direct Action Welfare Group – Evelyn Dortch or Chicago Hough (304) 590-8050

Chattanooga, TN - Contact: CHANGER – Landon Howard (423) 667-1967

Fresno, CA - Contact: Free United Homeless Coalition – Al Williams (559) 352 1979

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Rally and march

Los Angeles CA - Contact: Los Angeles Community Action Network – General Dogon ( 213) 228-0024  

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Skid Row, Street Theatre and Parade

Nashville TN - Contact: Homeless Advocates in Nashville – Lindsey Krinks  (615) 497-0447

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 – Monday, April 2, 2012 Legislative Plaza, Rally and Sleep out

New Orleans LA - Contact: Mayday New Orleans - Sam Jackson

New York, NY - Contact: Picture the Homeless – Lynn Lewis (646) 314-6423

Philadelphia, PA - Contact: PPEHRC – Cheri Honkala (267) 344-6318

Port Charlotte, Fl Contact: Charlotte County Homeless Coalition – Kelly Hunter (941) 627-4313 x 111

Portland OR Contact: Sisters Of The Road/ Street Roots/ Right 2 Survive - Chani Geigle-Teller (503) 222-5694

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Pioneer Courthouse Square, “Ticketing” the Public, Rally and Speeches

Regina, Canada - Contact:  Queen City Tenants Association – Garson Hunter (306) 585-5643

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Regina City Hall Protest/speak out

Sacramento CA - Contact: Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee – Paula Lomazi (916) 442-2156

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Attending San Francisco’s event, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 Press Conference

Springfield, MA Contact: Arise for Social Justice – Michaelann Bewsee  (413) 734-4948

  • Monday, April 2, 2012 Court Square, March and Rally

San Francisco, CA Contact: Coalition on Homelessness - Ken Dotson (415) 346-3740

  • Sunday, April 1, 2012 Union Square, Street Theatre March and Housing takeover

Tampa Fl. Contact: The Refuge – Rev. Bruce Wright (727) 278-1547

 

Local and National Endorsers April 1 2012 actions

Local and National Endorsers:  (as of 20 March, 2012)

Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), USA/Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI), Take Back the Land (TBTL), Social Welfare Action Alliance (SWAA), National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights (CRHNR), Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), Organizing for Occupation (O4O), #OccupySF, Occupy Nashville, Causa Justa: Just Cause (CJ: JC), Homes Not Jails, Brass Liberation Orchestra (BLO), Sleeping Bag project of Fresno, American Friends Service Committee, Pacific Mountain Region, National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), Victoria Street Newz, Victoria Canada, Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG), SF Living Wage Coalition, St. Mary’s Center, Street Spirit, Safe Ground, Loaves & Fishes, Poor Magazine/Poor News Network, Housing Rights Committee, Hospitality House, Great Tortilla Conspiracy, Community Housing Partnership, Berkeley Cop watch, Amos House Community

Participating Communities:  (16 as of 27 March, 2012)

Berkeley CA Contact: Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency - Janny Castillo  (510) 649-1930

Charleston, WV Contact: Direct Action Welfare Group – Evelyn Dortch or Chicago Hough (304) 590-8050

Chattanooga, TN Contact: CHANGER – Landon Howard (423) 667-1967

Fresno, CA Contact: Free United Homeless Coalition – Al Williams (559) 352 1979

Los Angeles CA Contact: Los Angeles Community Action Network – General Dogon ( 213) 228-0024  

Nashville TN Contact: Homeless Advocates in Nashville – Lindsey Krinks (615) 497-0447

New Orleans LA Contact: Mayday New Orleans - Sam Jackson (504)-223-0098

New York, NY Contact: Picture the Homeless – Lynn Lewis (646) 314-6423

Philadelphia, PA - Contact: PPEHRC – Cheri Honkala (267) 344-6318

Port Charlotte, Fl Contact: Charlotte County Homeless Coalition – Kelly Hunter (941) 627-4313 x 111

Portland OR Contact: Sisters Of The Road/ Street Roots/ Right 2 Survive - Chani Geigle-Teller (503) 222-5694

Regina, Canada - Contact: Queen City Tenants Association- Garson Hunter (306) 585-5643

Sacramento CA - Contact: Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee – Paula Lomazzi (916) 442-2156

Springfield, MA Contact: Arise for Social Justice – Michaelann Bewsee  (413)  734-4948

San Francisco, CA Contact: Coalition on Homelessness - Ken Dotson (415) 346-3740

Tampa Fl. Contact: The Refuge –Rev. Bruce Wright (727) 278-1547

Georeferences

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