Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Support Bradley Manning/South Carolina City Approves Plan to Exile its Homeless

On Wednesday, August 21 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, the Baltimore Nonviolence Center will host a support demonstration for Bradley Manning at Centre and Charles Streets, Mount Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore. Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at verizon dot net. There is also an emergency protest of Bradley Manning's sentence on Wed., Aug. 21 at 7:30 PM @ the White House. On Wed., Aug. 21 at 7:30 PM, Demand President Obama Pardon Whistle-Blower Bradley Manning. Gather at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, (16th St. NW and H St. NW). At 8:30 PM, march to DuPont Circle. RSVP at The government asked Judge Denise Lind, to sentence Bradley to 60 years in military prison. Go to South Carolina City Approves Plan to Exile its Homeless By Scott Keyes Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested. That’s because last week, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response” — to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Here’s how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan (D), will work. Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly enforce the city’s “quality of life” laws, including bans on loitering, public urination, and other violations. And just to ensure that no one slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police. In order to accommodate all the homeless people who will now be banned from downtown, the city will partner with a local charity to keep an emergency shelter on the outskirts of town open 24 hours a day. However, it’s unlikely the shelter, which can handle 240 guests, will be enough to handle the local homeless population, which numbers more than six times the available beds. Homeless people can stay at the shelter, but they’re not permitted to walk off the premises. In fact, Columbia will even post a police officer on the road leading to the shelter to ensure that homeless people don’t walk towards downtown. If they want to leave, they need to set up an appointment and be shuttled by a van. In other words, the 1,518 homeless people in the Columbia-area now have a choice: get arrested downtown or be confined to a far-away shelter that you can’t readily leave. Jail or pseudo-jail. Michael Stoops, Director of Community Organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, told ThinkProgress that this measure was the “most comprehensive anti-homeless measure that [he had] ever seen proposed in any city in the last 30 years.” He likened it to county poor farms that were prevalent throughout the Midwest many decades ago. “Using one massive shelter on the outskirts to house all a city’s homeless is something that has never worked anywhere in the country,” Stoops said. Homeless advocates may soon file suit to overturn the plan, arguing that the plan violates homeless peoples’ rights to equal treatment under the law and freedom of assembly. The South Carolina ACLU is also exploring the matter. Susan Dunn, the group’s legal director, was highly critical. “The underlying design is that they want the homeless not to be visible in downtown Columbia,” Dunn said. “You can shuttle them somewhere or you can go to jail. That’s, in fact, an abuse of power.” Columbia’s move mirrors an unfortunate trend sweeping cities across the country: criminalizing homelessness. Already this year, cities as disparate as Miami and Tampa to Palo Alto have passed various ordinances making it virtually illegal to be homeless inside city limits. UPDATE An earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to Runyan as a Democrat. His seat is non-partisan, though he was elected with the backing of Democrats. This article was published at NationofChange at: All rights are reserved. Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

No comments: