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Archive for May, 2007

 

Greetings,

On Sat, May 12th, about 20 people, affiliated with various
groups/organizations, met with members of PEOPLE PROJECT at the Labor
Temple in Eureka. The meeting was planned to: begin collectively
preparing for a public forum focused on supporting houseless struggles; to
build and strengthen alliances; and to inform strategies of involvement,
support, and action with (or without) PEOPLE PROJECT toward justice for
houseless and poor people. Some orgs represented were:

Accion Zapatista de Humboldt
American Civil Liberties Union
Art As Resistance
Coalition for Police Review
Communities For Peace
Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County
Earth First!
Ethnic Studies Collective (of HSU)
Forest Defense
Green Party
Independent Observers’ Program
Law Office of Tracy D. Herrin
Public Defenders’ Office, Humboldt County
Ragin’ Grannies
Redwood Curtain CopWatch
Veterans For Peace
Voter Confidence Committee
Unitarian Universalists Social Action
World Can’t Wait
9-11 Truth

We were encouraged, after giving short notice, by the people and interest
at the meeting last Saturday. At the same time, we regret not having yet
connected with more groups and on a more intimate level. We’re hoping to
build with groups that are affected by politics and attitudes of
oppression/cruelty, yet are ‘invisible’ to so many. Also we are aware
that houselessness and houseless issues are profound reflections of
conditions focused on (or unfortunately overlooked) by many local groups.
Thus, we wish to create relationships with caring individuals and
established organizations to discuss and confront the intersections of
your concerns and lives with the struggles of poverty and homelessness.
As we have those discussions, we hope to inspire you to do work locally
that actualizes dignity and respect for all, meets concrete needs, and
embraces deeper levels of care and justice.

Regular PEOPLE PROJECT meetings, which always involve a shared meal, are
on Tuesday nights, 6:30-9:30pm. They are open meetings, convened with the
intention of creating safe (and warm) space for folks to discuss issues
facing houseless people, to develop support networks, to plan for a
long-term people-run campground, and at times to organize empowering
direct action.

Through to June 12th, on Tuesdays, PEOPLE PROJECT will meet at the
Northcoast Environmental Center, using the back door entrance.

PEOPLE PROJECT would like to participate in spaces hosted by other
groups– as a form of our support and as a way of connecting struggles.
Please tell us when your meetings are scheduled. Also, please consider or
discuss publicly endorsing PEOPLE PROJECT efforts through a letter to the
editor or the like. Public discourse about houseless people, often
presented through the mainstream media and local government, is riddled
with misinformation, stereotyping, and blatant dismissal of the dignity
and human rights for houseless people. Your explicitly stated support is
critical.

PEOPLE PROJECT is currently working on a community documentation project
and collective community research with houseless folks and allies. We will
be generating interviews, videos and a film/documentary, a timeline of
struggle, pamphlets, articles, zine(s) and research on the history of
discriminatory actions taken against houseless people in Humboldt County
generally and specifically in Arcata.

Currently, while we are working on building support/relationships with
different groups, we are also preparing for court activity related to the
raid on the recent encampment, continuing discussions regarding a future
PEOPLE PROJECT campground, supporting folks camping in Arcata, and
planning for a public forum.

Your networking may be able to help us connect (or further connect) with
faith-based organizations, tenants’ rights groups, labor unions, veterans,
health practitioners, indigenous communities, communities of color, youth,
artist and theatre collectives, environmental groups, immigrant groups,
and queer communities. We believe that our work relies on such folks’
participation and input.

Below are some ideas, discussions, and suggestions generated at the
meeting on Saturday, May 12th at the Labor Temple.

Ideas:
-Creating a timeline from now to the PP campground’s creation
-Connecting with more people of color
-More research on who has made policies, conditions -who the agents/players
are
-Skillshare(s) before the public forum
-Potential places where we could have meetings (currently, lack of
mtg.spaces)
-Accessing resources of people in room
-Being more explicit, explanatory about what PP is doing

Forum discussion:
-Dialogue ‘outside’ of government forum
-Regular community-wide meetings; community councils
-Considering new ways to organize ourselves (i.e. assemblies, effective
horizontal facilitation)
-Need for commons; reclaiming commons
-Generating actions for after the forum
-Invite forum participants to prepare to demonstrate and state their
support; Productive Process leading up to forum
-Maintaining Solidarity
-Direct Action casework
-Learn about PEOPLE PROJECT strategies- how to plug in, support
-Encouragement
-Distributing the work of organizing the forum with different
groups/individuals

-Q and A about PEOPLE PROJECT

We began to collectively generate a timeline regarding struggles of
houselessness and influences- Economic Transformation, Government Policy,
and Peoples’ Action- to better understand what we are up against. [We are
continuing to generate a timeline]

We want to thank people who supported the PP action encampment and
continue to support our efforts. And thanks to those people who met with
us on Saturday.

PEOPLE PROJECT needs money! Since the encampment, we have attained a
storage space for supplies– available for those people who need them and
for collective actions (meals, demos, etc.). Because the Peace and
Justice Center no longer has a meeting space, at times we need to pay for
space for different meetings, gatherings. We are doing computer work and
need money for discs, internet connections, etc. We are making a
documentary which requires– you guessed it– money. We need cameras and
tapes, chargers, scanners– things to keep us protected. We are still
perhaps the most resourceful and low-budget group of folks you will come
across, but in order to further our efforts, we need your financial (and
other) support.

We would like to get a P.O. Box at which PEOPLE PROJECT and its individual
‘participants’ with few resources can receive mail. In the future, we
will be able to receive donations that way too. At the moment, the best
way to get a donation to us is through cash or money orders.

[Note: If you want your donation to be tax-deductible, checks can be made
to the non-profit Peoples’ Workshop.]

Please call (707) 618-9185 or email vervain (a) riseup.net
or squiggy (a) riseup.net to connect with Verbena or Squiggy to make
donations.

Power From the Streets!

PEOPLE PROJECT Contact:

peopleproject@riseup.net

peopleproject.wordpress.com

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Visits to the PEOPLE PROJECT encampment involve discussion about the illegality and immorality of the city’s policies in Arcata that target houseless people and fly in the face of the 9th Circuit Court’s ‘Jones’ decision in 2006 which determine the deliberate harassment of homeless folks and the denial of spaces for rest as a form of cruel and unusual punishment and contrary to the Eight Amendment.

For more information on the 9th Circuit Court’s ‘Jones’ decision see the following documents:
POLICE NEED CAUSE TO ENFORCE NUISANCE LAW

Jones v. Los Angelos Appeal-2005.pdf

Jones v. Los Angelos 2006.pdf

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Squiggy Rubio 707-3621486

POWER FROM THE STREETS! Culmination of PEOPLE PROJECT Human Rights Action

Arcata, California – PEOPLE PROJECT announces the culmination of their protest encampment beginning Wednesday morning with the completion of the encampment, a rally (listen to rally) and march that Wednesday afternoon, and a press conference on Thursday.

Wednesday’s rally and march, beginning at 1pm at 14th and Union Street, will be an opportunity for the entire community to come together to celebrate, support and discuss the homeless encampment action and the relevant issues that it has raised.

PEOPLE PROJECT wants to be clear the encampment is not asking for money, services or help from government. “We have found that to be useless” said longtime PEOPLE PROJECT participant. For many years, the City of Arcata has claimed it would do more to address the issue of homelessness. Many view the Homeless Task Force as one costly but fruitless effort by the City that created numerous road blocks for every clearly articulated solution presented. With the encampment action, People Project instead seeks to connect with caring community members and strengthen the houseless community’s vision of a campground.

PEOPLE PROJECT began a demonstration Saturday afternoon April 21 and later that evening created the protest encampment. On April 25th Arcata Police Department, University Police, Eureka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County Distract Attorney and Fortuna Police Department mobilized to tear down the encampment and remove the primarily houseless demonstrators. Many consider this the largest police action in Humboldt County in the last 15 years.

Visits to the PEOPLE PROJECT encampment involved discussions about the illegality of the City’s policies that target houseless people. In mid 2006, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in ‘Jones v City of Los Angeles’ that it is unconstitutional for a city to ticket or arrest individuals who sleep on city property if no other option exists. “For a community that considers itself progressive, it seems unthinkable that there would be such an increasing number of poor and houseless people falling victim to constant harassment and violations of their rights” stated Squiggy Rubio.

After the police raid, demonstrators spent three days and two nights on the front lawn of City Hall demanding the return of police-seized property. “After violent police repression, we found it appropriate to temporarily move to the often hostile downtown business area where money is prioritized over human rights” said PEOPLE PRJOECT participant, Willie.

On Saturday night April 28, PEOPLE PROJECT human rights demonstration moved to the base of Redwood Park on 14th and Union Street declaring “we will not disappear.”

The PEOPLE PROJECT encampment that is claiming public space will be completed on Wednesday May 2nd. It is the first phase in a longer process to expose the cruelty, dehumanization and criminalization of houseless people, to open up dialogue with other community members and to generate support for a free, people-run, ecologically sustainable campground.

On Thursday May 3 on the corner of 11th and D street at noon, a press conference will be held to further discuss the situation facing homeless people here locally and around the nation. Upcoming events to be organized by the PEOPLE PROJECT will be announced during the press conference.

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