Archive for the ‘In Solidarity!’ Category

“At approximately 12:30 pm (PST) on Oct. 8, as I was having some coffee, I witnessed a Starbucks employee physically assault a homeless man in the Portland, Ore. area in order to get him to leave the premises.
The man, who appeared to be in his late 30s, was simply sitting in his chair and this female Starbucks employee (Jeanne) came over to him several times between approx. 12:15 pm and 12:30 pm and asked him to leave. At the same time she also asked two other homeless people (a young man and woman) also seated in the same area to leave. When these three homeless people didn’t leave right away, this same employee (apparently angered) went over to the gentleman in his late 30s and kicked him at least a half a dozen times in the lower leg to rouse him to leave. It was sickening and if I am not mistaken this would be considered second-degree assault.

The location where this took place was at the Starbucks at 14620 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Milwaukie, OR 97267 (Milwaukie is directly southeast of Portland, Ore.).

At the moment that this man was assaulted and subsequently these three people were asked to leave, this Starbucks was virtually empty, so it wasn’t like there were people standing around waiting for a seat.

Shortly after this kicking incident I left the Starbucks and located the two younger homeless people who were seated across from the gentleman who was assaulted by the Starbucks employee, and they corroborated the incident and said, “All we wanted to do was rest.” Sadly, at that moment they were lying on a sidewalk alongside an adjacent grocery store in full sun, obviously extremely uncomfortable and hurting with nowhere to go. They said the gentleman who was kicked by the Starbucks employee hangs around the area where the incident took place, but they didn’t know where he went after they were all ejected from the Starbucks. I have not been able to find him. I have driven up and down the adjacent streets and still have not seen him. The young couple has also not been seen in the area since then.

That same day, about an hour after the incident, I spoke directly with someone at KOIN News who expressed interest in this sickening display for a story, but without some comment by the gentleman kicked or video of him they said they were not ready to do a story. I emailed KATU News and am awaiting a reply. I have also been in contact with the Oregon Coalition on Housing & Homelessness, and spoke with someone from this organization (Carol) who said she “was extremely concerned that this incident is the status quo in terms of how Starbucks treats people perceived as homeless.”

What was really shocking about this incident was that the Starbucks employee (Jeanne) seemed proud of what she did. As I was leaving this Starbucks shortly after the kicking incident I mentioned to her that she had to get some homeless people to leave, and asked her if she kicked the one gentleman and she replied, “Well yes I did—he wouldn’t leave.”

The houseless community is up in arms about an alleged physical attack by a Milwaukee Starbucks employee against a houseless man inside a coffee shop on Saturday, October 8.
The KBOO Evening News received testimony from an alleged witness who wrote that a female employee approached a houseless man sitting at a table at a Starbucks on McLoughlin Boulevard and QUOTE “kicked him at least half a dozen times in the lower leg to rouse him to leave.”
A spokeswoman from Starbucks said that the corporation had spoken to its employees at the Milwaukee shop and that there is no evidence anyone did anything wrong.
Starbucks issued a statement to the KBOO News that said, Quote:
“The safety and well-being of our partners and our customers is our highest priority. We have further looked into this matter, and have found there is no evidence of any type of physical altercation involving any of our partners.”

There were two additional houseless people in the Starbucks at the time of the alleged incident and the witness says the same employee forced all of them out.
The witness alleges that when the Starbucks employee kicked the houseless man’s legs, the shop was QUOTE “virtually empty.”


For more episodes, visit: Re-Imagining the American Dream- Sohana Web-Series



PLACE: ALFRED A. ARRAJ, U.S. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, 901 19th  ST. DENVER, CO 40294 Courtroom A 402.

Denver, CO— Homeless people are going to U.S. federal court 8 a.m. Wednesday, October 12 to address the mass violations of their fundamental rights by the City of Denver. In spite of daily struggles, homeless and poor people here in America are standing up against powerful government and business interests.

“It’s exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind,” says their attorney, Jason Flores-Williams.

Since the passing of the Camping Ban in May 2012, the City of Denver has routinely seized and destroyed the property of thousands of homeless persons in Denver in a policy that has nation-wide come to be known as The Denver Homeless Sweeps.

“Defendants’ systematic policy of confiscating property from this class of citizens has profoundly deleterious effects on homeless persons’ legal standing, emotional well-being and medical health, while providing no demonstrable benefits to the City and County of Denver,” says University of Colorado Political Science Professor, Tony Robinson, an expert witness in this civil rights class action case.

The class action law suit challenging the Denver Homeless Sweeps was filed in U.S. Federal Court August 27, 2016. Wednesday October 12, 2016 marks the first hearing in the matter. There will be a press conference 8:15 a.m. on the public sidewalk on 20th and Champa followed by a hearing in Magistrate Judge Shaffer’s Courtroom at 9:00 a.m. The press conference, as well as the hearing, will be attended by many homeless people including those whose rights and property have been seized by the City.

Plaintiff Jerry Burton explains the reality saying, “Wherever I try to rest, the Denver Police Department comes down on me hard. They always tell me: “If you people would just leave Denver, then all of this would stop.” I have lived here 26 years. This is my home.”

The sweeps must end. You cannot sweep away homelessness. Denver is for all people.


Law office of Jason Flores-Williams


Denver Homeless Out Loud

720-940-5291 or 415-517-5603

*reposted from Denver Homeless Out Loud

May Day 2015

Posted: April 21, 2015 in In Solidarity!

This May 1st, community organizations, labor advocacy groups, unions, and supporters aim to march and rally to commemorate International Workers’ Day by highlighting issues of poverty wages, homelessness, wage theft, foreclosures, unemployment, racial and gender inequality, the need for a just and humane immigration reform, climate change and other affects of the systemic attack on working people.

“The gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen as corporate control of the economy grows and government corruption increases,” said Ben Marston of Unite Here, a union representing low wage hotel workers. “Our members struggle to make ends meet and often have to rely on social services such as food stamps even though they work full time. Workers are starting to fight back as we have seen recently with unions like the Portland Association of Teachers, the city workers of DCTU and the Professors at PSU who all threatened to strike in order to force good faith negotiations and a fair contract.”

According to Romeo Sosa of the immigrant rights organization Voz, “The immigrant population has always played a major role in the May Day event. Despite a growing attack on undocumented workers and their families, the community is standing strong in saying ‘no more’ to deportations that are separating children and parents.” Sosa continues, “We have collaborated with unions and community groups like Jobs with Justice and the homeless advocacy group Right 2 Dream Too. We see that our struggle against this corrupt system connects us all and that through solidarity we will become strong enough to create a new and just world.”

People will begin to gather at the South Park Blocks at 2:00 PM and the rally begins at 3:00 PM with speakers and musicians who will communicate the challenge to the community to confront issues of poverty wages, homelessness, wage theft, foreclosures, unemployment, racial and gender inequality, the need for a just and humane immigration reform, climate change and other affects of the systemic attack on working people.  At 4:30 PM a march will begin through downtown Portland and will end back at the South Park Blocks at about 5:30 PM when there will be a short wrap up rally with some entertainment and speakers.

May Day, an ancient celebration of coming of summer, became an integral part of the late-1800s labor movement fighting for an eight-hour day. Over a hundred years ago workers organized on this day to demand fair labor conditions. Today, working people are still denied basic rights, as many live in poverty, endure houselessness, food insecurity, and lack of access to health care. As we approach May Day in 2015, we recognize how immigration status, race, ethnicity, gender identity, access to education, and other personal realities intersect and affect the way workers experience a range of injustices. This year our call is to reflect on the differences, find common ground, and Rise Up In Solidarity.

Endorsed by:

Jobs with Justice, VOZ Workers Rights Education Project, Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professional, Local #5017, American Friends Service Committee, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), Healthcare for all Oregon, Democratic Socialists of America, Carpenters, SEIU 503, Don’t Shoot PDX, Black, Lives Matter, Gente Unida, AARPR, Right 2 Survive/ Right 2 Dream too, PAT, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, 15 Now, Portland Right to the City, Mt. Hood Lodge #1005, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Portland Association of Teachers, Metanoia Peace Community, NATL ASSCN of letter carriers, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, Socialist Alternative – Portland Branch, Industrial Workers of the World, Climate Jobs Committee, ASFCME Green, 350PDX, Code Pink Portland, UNITE HERE Local 8.


On August 2, 2014, members of Right 2 Survive and Right 2 Dream Too  took the Dirty Side of Portland Bus Tour with Groundwork and Know Your City.  We traveled first to Cathedral Park where we learned about the Superfund cleanup timeline and community outreach plan.  The Superfund cleanup is a federal government program that is instrumental in cleaning up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.  Portland was put on the national priority list in 2000 because of its toxicity from decades of industrial pollution contaminating the river with pesticides, heavy metals and PCBs.  Estimated time for proposal is sometime in 2015.  The results will then be released publicly.  It is okay to swim or participate in recreational activities in the river, but to be sure to wash well with soap and water afterward and clean anything you use.  Do not eat fish that live in the harbor; carp, catfish or bass.  They contain high PCBs from feeding because of the toxic sediment.


We then traveled to Emerson Street Garden, a pilot brownfield project of Groundwork.  A brownfield site is a property that may have difficulties trying to redevelop/reuse because of contaminants, hazardous substances or other pollutants.  This property was once contaminated and has been transformed.  It’s a place for the community to come together to share, network, to learn about the environment and gardening.



The last site we visited was a brownfield at 124th and Division, a vacant lot that has had many difficulties with redevelopment over the years.  McDonald’s made an offer, but neighborhoods objected, as they didn’t want another fast-food place.  David-Douglas High School students got together with Groundwork and created some renderings as suggestions for what to do with the property, including a community garden, place for local business or nonprofits.  Nothing has been done with this property at this time.


Read more about this tour in this article from the Oregonian.

UPDATE on the Brownfields – August 28, 2014 – Portland Maps out 910 acres of polluted brownfields.

Press Release
January 16, 2013

“God knows these are out of the box times.  When are we going to rise to the occasion and start thinking out of the box?  Old ideas created the problems we’re in.  They sure as *….* aren’t going to solve them.”  (SLEEPS activist)

The Trude Kaufman house, a former senior center, has lain dormant for two years now and the city plans to let it continue to do so until the generous Kaufman Trust fund runs out in 2015. Why not put seniors to work there instead, volunteering to help those who are unhoused?

The City has referenced expensive maintenance needed and a scant budget.  In a community with over 18% REAL unemployment and 1500 people on the streets there are many licensed plumbers, electricians and other construction workers who are sitting idle and who would be thrilled to be able to do anything useful.  People want to be productive and they would be eager to put their skills to use and help provide shelter day or night for those who are suffering on the streets.  BRING and other recycle opportunities have ample supplies at very low cost so both materials and labor are readily available. Seniors have time and talents.
In an era in which capital resources are scant and need rampant, it would behoove the community to tap into an evolving “gift economy” and explore the innovative service cooperatives.  It will be at least a decade, if ever, for job recovery.  We as a community need to develop other ways of utilizing each others’ talents and supporting each other…our current system is failing.
The Kaufman house is but one example of buildings that are racking up costs but lying unused in Eugene.  And buildings are just one issue where we’re stuck in a rut policy wise.  Just as we need to rethink building use, we need to rethink other policies that waste resources and hurt people.  Our anti-sleeping laws are another such issue.  We’re using outdated theories to address current era problems, a recipe for disaster.

Contact:, Jean Stacey 541-653-7589

Here is the story from SLEEPS:


Hedon Face

HEDIN BRUGH is a tough survivor and relentless activist who lives on the streets of Eugene.  He’s fought for the trees and environment for much of his life.  More recently, he’s fought against illegal foreclosures, fought for first amendment rights and now he is fighting for those who are unhoused.   Instead of resting secure in the knowledge that he can take care of himself on the streets, he constantly worries and works for those for whom he knows life on the streets is pure  hell.  “I worry most about families.  Especially women with children.  And men with children, there is no place they can go.”

Though the Mission recently accepted its first father and child family, their family space and that of First Place has long been full.  And lots of folks can’t manage the Mission environment or living in the basement of a church, with no privacy.  They might WANT to manage it but just not be able.

Hedin has been watching the shuttered Trude Kaufman House at 10th and Jefferson for two years now.  And for the third time in recent weeks he and other SLEEPS activists are pitching tents at 1PM at the site to bring the community’s attention to the fact that this resource is sitting empty while the unhoused suffer in the cold.

“This is a generous community, “ says Hedin.  “If the city would lease this place to a not for profit, there are many unemployed and licensed carpenters, electricians, plumbers who would much rather being doing something useful than sitting around.”  He also says that the former senior center is a place where  many seniors who want to help but have no place do so could come and volunteer.  “The Trude Kaufman House is just eating up the fund the Kaufmans left.  The city should make it possible for volunteers to help there and bring unhoused families out of the cold.”

Hedin is not only a tough activist, he is also a poet and playwright and is currently developing street theater for SLEEPS and writing a play that deals with issues around the unhoused.

Published by jeanstac on January 17, 2013 (use the link below to connect to the article and leave a comment for SLEEPS)

Posted by Ruthie Benjamin

We marched together:  Sisters of the Road, Right To Dream Too, Right to Survive, Dignity Village, and all our allies, starting from the VOZ Worker Center, across the Burnside Bridge ….

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We stopped at Right 2 Dream Too to hear speakers and raise our voices together.

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Then we marched on to Sisters of the Road to end the celebration with an afternoon of good food, a great keynote address, awesome live music and celebration of and with friends.

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Here is a link to Joe Anybody’s awesome video of the whole day.

Jan 19: March for the Dream this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

March for the DreamAt the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began to focus on the power of a movement made up of those who are dispossessed in the current economic system.

Join us Saturday, January 19th, 2013 to March for the Dream! We will gather to rally at 10am and then march together across river!

The rally will begin at the VOZ Worker Center, march across the river together, visit Right 2 Dream Too, and end the day in Sisters’ Cafe with hot soup and beverages, music, hosted by our Keynote Speaker Mic Crenshaw.

Sisters and our allies continue to grow this movement – led by poor communities and communities of color, those who are the most deeply impacted by the law of maximum profit. This powerful movement for good will ensure that every person has shelter, good food, safety and dignified work. This is the creative and caring force of the “unsettling force” Dr. King referred to.

Posted by Ruthie Benjamin