Posts Tagged ‘criminalization’

For Immediate Release

Ibrahim Mubarak

503-839-9992

or

Leo Rhodes

503-936-2665

Email: r2spdx@gmail.com

Right 2 Survive and Right 2 Dream Too protest opening of community court in multi-million dollar homeless facility

 “You shouldn’t have to plead guilty in order to get housing or services.” says Leo Rhodes.  “There is funding attached to criminalizing the houseless.”

 PORTLAND, OR – May 4th, 2012- Members of Right 2 Survive and the Right 2 Dream Too rest area, will protest the opening of a community court in the Bud Clark Commons at 1pm on Friday, May 4th.

 “People are being told that there is no funding for housing, but they are making people think that if they go into court and plead guilty there is a possibility of getting housing.” says Rhodes, a homeless advocate who has been cited for sleeping outside.

Over the past year, the Western Regional Advocacy Project has led a survey effort with its grassroots members and allies in Portland, OR, Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Houston, TX, and Worcester, MA documenting homeless people’s experiences with the criminal justice system for survival-related “crimes.” More than three-quarters of survey respondents (78 percent) reported being harassed, cited or arrested by police officers for sleeping outside. Seventy-five percent reported the same for sitting or lying down, and 76 percent for loitering or simply “hanging out.” These were by far the top crimes for which homeless people were charged. A sad corresponding fact is that only one quarter of respondents (25 percent) believed that they knew of safe, legal places to sleep.

 “What they’re doing with this homeless court is taking away a population’s right to due process, which is unconstitutional”, says Amber Dunks of Right 2 Dream Too.  “What’s worse is that agencies that are supposed to be supporting the unhoused are behind this.”

 

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Right 2 Survive is an organization led by unhoused, and formerly unhoused individuals.  R2S is dedicated to educating houseless people and their allies about their human, civil, and constitutional rights.  R2S works to empower unhoused people and their allies to take action against laws, policies and practices that criminalize people for survival activities

Right 2 Dream Too exists to awaken social and political groups to the importance of safe and undisturbed sleep. Our purpose is to create a place where unhoused people can rest or sleep without being rousted by police or private security and without being under the constant threat of violence. We hope to create a cost-effective, self-sustaining model that can be replicated elsewhere.

 

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I had a somewhat surreal experience the other day- at first ,while a friend of mine explained the idea of a “homeless court” I actually thought it was a joke and laughed out loud- I mean honestly wtf? When it occurred to me that this person was in fact not joking but spoke in deadliest earnest- I stopped this individual and I said are you for real? So what your saying is that the pba (Portland business alliance ) is building a new state of the art shelter which includes in it a “homeless” court? A court that is separate and apart from the regular one? Where people experiencing homelessness and poverty go to this court-and more mainstream citizens go to regular court with the possibility of legal representation and the presumption of innocence till proven guilty-oh did I forget to mention that – at homeless court you’re guilty = that is the option- you are -without the possibilities of being represented and are then farmed out like an indentured servant to do community service-not given options where to do that community service -but are forced to do so cleaning the streets in front of PBA associated businesses- let’s insert some serious amounts of sarcasm here–sounds like good business to me I mean why not its a constant source of free labor for those businesses associated with the Portland business alliance and with Mike now in place to push the police to further still harass and oppress the un-housed we have the perfect combination for this – perhaps I should stop to explain the connection-Mike Kuykendall-aka mr pba- former leader of the Portland business alliance-aka mr sit lie himself-this is the same gentleman (and I use that term loosely in this case) who is responsible for the sit lie ordinance that was proven unconstitutional = this being the ordinance that criminilized folks for being homeless-that guy-is now transitioning into the position of “running services for ppb- it is rumored that one of those responsibilities will be to oversee the homeless court-this man has a proven track record for harassing the homeless via many actions=) hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm—————– not only does that sound like a whole lotta “networking” and backwards agenda to me- I mean isn’t that the slightest bit suspicious to anyone other then myself? I wonder how long Portland will tolerate this -because really we are responsible at this point as it is our tax dollars at work here-do we want to be known as a city that lead the journey towards the police state – because that is what we are doing now = we are set to have a homeless court we live in a city where you can be searched simply for not meeting the eyes of the officer questioning you –that is now considered “ reasonable suspicion” to search someone- -the same city that tolerates a police force – that is known for its brutality and oppression of many minority groups-including the unhoused community = where the quality of your legal status depends on the money you make -this is not something I would be proud of – for myself this feels like a slap to the face – it looks to me like an agenda to oppress and repress an entire community based on it’s economic status- so let’s look at that whole cycle- say for instance you are unhoused – you are charged with any one of the crimes associated with that say erecting a structure in the rain -for instance – you are now sent to homeless court and forced to do your community service by cleaning the streets in and around downtown portland – no lawyer no representation no options – isn’t that just another form of indentured servitude? It certainly doesn’t represent equal opportunity or equal justice under the law – now add into the picture the fact that we now have in a place of substantial influence and power a man who is noted for his disregard for the community he will now be directly in charge of through this homeless court- in a police force with a widely recognized reputation for the disregard and brutality towards the unhoused…..those do not look like actions I would take if I were trying to reach out to any part of this community or portland as a whole. they would not inspire me with confidence in the direction that either the city or the police were taking – they would instead fill me with fear for this city and it’s people – honestly folks what is next on the agenda? Refugee camps? Seriously in you look at this in the broader spectrum this is a very serious turn of events – think world war 2 nazi germany = now look at the city of portland and how it is being run and who it is being run by = i encourage you to do some research = – i mean these people are in positions of authority = and their pasts are a matter of public record- so I ask you to research-and when you do I bet you see some chilling connections-i’m just sayin…….