Click on the Photo above to read the December 2012/January 2013.
You can also view a high resolution PDF version HERE.
Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act Introduced to Assembly
CONTACT: Paul Boden
Western Regional Advocacy Project
DECEMBER 1—A coalition of West Coast poor people’s organizations is working with Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) to introduce a Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act on December 3.
In June, Rhode Island became the first state to pass a statewide homeless people’s bill of rights. Building off of the community organizing that led to this success, homeless people’s organizations around the country have been working on similar bills.
California’s is the first bill since Rhode Island’s to be introduced to a state legislature. “California has a long history of using discriminatory laws to keep ‘undesirable’ people out of public places and to hide our bigger social problems. From the Ugly Laws of the mid-19th century—which made it a crime to have a visible disability in public—through the anti-Okie law of the Great Depression—which made it a crime for poor people to enter the state—up through the present, both state and local governments have used these laws to punish or conceal poor people,” said Paul Boden, Organizing Director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP). “But as long as these laws have existed, there’s been resistance. Every single one of those laws has been struck down. We’re introducing this bill of rights because we believe that the time has come to address the wrongs and most importantly stop them from ever happening again.”
The effort is a collaboration between WRAP, Jericho: A Voice for Justice, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Judith Larson of Jericho said, “This is the essence of what Jericho was formed to do, and has continued to do for the past 25 years.”
WRAP has conducted over 800 surveys concerning homeless people’s interactions with law enforcement. 82% of survey respondents had been hassled by law enforcement for sleeping. 78% had had interactions with law enforcement simply because they’d been hanging out in a public space. 77% had been harassed by law enforcement for sitting down. Becky Dennison, Co-Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, said, “When we’ve criminalized sleeping, standing, and sitting down, we’ve basically criminalized a person’s existence. A bill like this is long overdue.“
The Act would guarantee homeless people freedom from discrimination in law enforcement, employment, housing and shelter, and public benefits. It protects people’s right to use public space, to keep personal property, and to engage in life-sustaining activities. It also guarantees people the right to counsel in any case where they’re being prosecuted. Paula Lomazzi from Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee said, “These are basic rights that allow all people to stay alive and engage in a democratic society—things most of us get to take for granted, but which remain a daily challenge for many of the poorest members of our communities.”
Join us at 1:00 pm on April 1, 2012 for the April Fools’ Day Parade. Come dressed up as one of the fools responsible for the criminalization of homelessness in Los Angeles and beyond – like Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmember Jan Perry, Estela Lopez of the CCEA, or LAPD Chief Beck.
The Skid Row parade and street theatre will be one of 14 direct actions taking place in cities across the country as part of a National Day of Action for the Right to Exist, organized by the Western Regional Advocacy Project. One of the goals is to put the devastating and discriminatory treatment of homeless and poor people in the public spotlight and build pressure for the reinvestment in affordable housing.
Hope to see all of you at the LA CAN office (530 S. Main St.) in full costume at 1 pm on Sunday, April 1st.
A video highlighting the various campaigns, actions, and achievements of LA CAN in 2011!
Click on the photo above to read the September/October 2011 Edition of the Community Connection (or download a PDF version HERE).
This past weekend, over 50 LA CAN members hopped on a bus and headed north to San Francisco for the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) Congress. They were joined by groups and folks from up and down the west coast, all of whom convened with one goal in mind – to build a regional movement that exposes and eliminates the root causes of homelessness and poverty.
During the three day event, members took part and led various workshops on issues very familiar to LA CAN – such as addressing the criminalization of homelessness and conducting effective community outreach.
LA CAN and WRAP members also participated in the Great American TARP Tour – a protest targeting the various groups and institutions responsible for the current national financial crisis and bank bailouts. In one action, over 500 people marched to Wells Fargo, a Hyatt Hotel currently neglecting the contract demands of employees, Charles Schwab and various other institutions – all of whom continue to play a role in widening the gap between the rich and the poor.
Demonstrators let these groups know loud and clear – homeless and impoverished folks are not going to stand for increasing budget cuts and the criminalization of their communities while irresponsible corporate entities receive tax payer funded bailouts.
See below for more photos and footage from the amazing protest.
While Big Finance has held the people of the United States up for hundreds of billions of dollars, the biggest players on Wall Street have foreclosed the homes of millions of families, attacked Union representation for front-line workers, and funded the criminalization and incarceration of poor people at record rates.
Join us in San Francisco to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
If you are interested in attending or would like more information, call LA CAN at 213.228.0024 and ask for Debbie or Steve
You can also get more info at wraphome.org.
It’s that time again, Community Connection time. If you’re tired of the same old mainstream media mis-truths, myths, and mis-information simply join the growing Community Connection readership. You can now find the Community Connection in various locations on the web including; http://www.street-papers.org/or just return here.
community connect 35 final complete [click the link to read CC #35]
Lets get ready to rumble! Join LA CAN and our West Coast allies as we converge on the Federal Building in San Francisco, CA. Our demand, making housing and not the criminalization of poverty the national priority.
To get involved contact LA CAN at (213) 228-0024 and ask for Pete White, or simply go to wraphome.org to get the latest action updates.
Agonize or organize in 2010 that is the question.