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Archive for the ‘veterans’ Category

This has been difficult to write. We’ve been telling people vaguely, but here goes:

PARC IS CLOSING SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

There are many reasons, but before we get into what they are, we want to emphasize the need for more places like PARC to be created. And maintained.

PARC (Peoples’ Action for Rights & Community) has existed for 10 years- all of our work has been volunteer and all of our funding and supplies have been from community donations (including our own pockets). We have no 501(C)(3), no statistics, no lists of all the people who have come through the door, and no purse strings (or other strings) that keep us quiet or prevent us from risking arrest, organizing with whomever we want, and doing and supporting whatever actions we find worthy in defense of the people, the Earth, and the critters. Not one donation we get stops us from choosing to publicly take positions on government, police, prisons, community, homelessness, laws, businesses, racism, Palestine, etc; nor have we ever signed an agreement with anyone that precludes us from opposing the concepts, systems, structures, and people who we find to be harmful or threatening to dignity, fairness, and life.

We are proud of our stances against such things as capitalism, racism, police, borders, war, GMO’s, death penalty, and animal abuse. We don’t change to attract a donor or government, and therein lies our integrity. That, plus our commitment to care for people every day, morning to night, has kept us supported for this long.

We are so grateful to the principled and generous people and organizations who have supported PARC with money and all other types of donations, invitations to events, letters in our defense (remember those?), volunteer time, hours of dishwashing, long distance solidarity, artwork, animal care, vehicles and rides, home-made and special event foods, college/university internships, and spiritual and political backing.

Why are we closing?

PARC has been in its current location for 8 ½ of our 10 years. In Oct 2016, new owners bought the property from our very supportive landlord. Our new lease guaranteed our tenancy for a year, but the new landlords have been trying to get us out since shortly after they became the owners. (Unfortunately for them, we do a little tenants’ rights work, so we know how to defend ourselves.)
Now that it is almost a year, we will close PARC on Sept 7th and take a few weeks to clear out the space.

For those of you asking “What’s going to happened next?” that’s what we are trying to figure out. Over the 10 years that PARC has existed, the inequalities of capitalism have gotten worse, and more and more people are suffering. More people have been pushed into poverty and have greater difficulty meeting their daily survival needs. The impact on PARC has meant more time, effort, and resources devoted to helping people to just get by, and less time doing the political work to end the conditions that are putting people on the streets. 10 years of working here ‘as’ PARC has provided a wealth of experience; we have learned a lot; and in this period of having to shut down in this location, we have the opportunity to evaluate our responsibilities moving forward, committed to working for justice and social change.

To the people who rely on PARC for survival, for respite, for shelter from the storm, we send you these words of encouragement:

Keep your heads up. Welcome new cycles in your lives. Even with so much against you, you persist and survive and help people who are more vulnerable than you. Work on your health and the health of the people around you. Take care of the land and the water. ORGANIZE so things will be better. You are the experts on how you’re being treated by the police, businesses, housed community people, organizations, city government, etc. Use what you know and learn about other movements from the streets. Understand that people who bring you food or give you a blanket want to help stop the oppression you are experiencing. Talk with them about that. ORGANIZE so things will be better. Love, PARC

Volunteers who become familiar with the people and the rhythm in the chaos and come on a regular basis are critical. Countless volunteers have helped PARC over the years. We will not try and list all the names, for fear of leaving someone out, but everyone’s contributions were part of PARC’s spirit and success.

Each month we write an email asking for money donations to pay bills and rent. Here is the last one, which is a great explanation and her/history of PARC. https://peopleproject.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/parcs-presentation-to-veterans-for-peace/

Some of the projects you may remember or have participated in, largely based out of PARC include:

  • End the War on the Poor weekly demonstrations and dinner;
  • PEOPLE PROJECT Good Morning Neighbors Breakfast Program;
  • Days of Action Against Police Brutality;
  • 33-night winter Safe Sleeping Space at Eureka City Hall;
  • monthly radio show, Radical Rap;
  • community produce table;
  • 5pm for the 5 Demands weekly informational demos in support of the CA prisoner hunger strikers and against long term solitary confinement;
  • dog rescue + fostering and adopting;
  • Music for the People concerts at Clarke Plaza;
  • guerrilla film showings about the MOVE 9 political prisoners in efforts to win their release;
  • Know Your Rights workshops;
  • many street music and speaking events with PARC’s portable sound system;
  • Grub n Grab events;
  • summer film screening and discussion series;
  • the Eureka Fair Wage Act;
  • lots of public dinners;
  • Jail Support;
  • Richardson Grove Action Now organizing; and
  • Homeless Persons Memorial Day marches & gatherings.

PARC has been an important resource center and organizing hub for 10 years.

PLEASE: Call PARC (707.442.7465) or email peoplesarc@gmail.com, if you would like to get together and talk about what you could do in the near future to prevent huge gaps in relief, food, bathrooms, showers, safe(r) space, computer use, phone use, mail service, legal support, etc. Without community action, these gaps will exist for people living on the street and for housed and unhoused people who need space, use of office equipment, and/or advocacy, for myriad reasons.

We want to talk with people about how to work a place like PARC, or a space that fills one or more of the needs that PARC has met, and how to establish this space and keep it going. There can and should be multiple places and methods that take care of community needs. Simple and consistent acts of creativity and dedication can do so much.

PARC needs to strategize with donors where to bring the clothes, food, and towel donations that we usually get. It is unacceptable for all donations to go to well-funded places (e.g. Eureka Rescue Mission, Betty Chinn) where only “certain” people can access them, and most can not.

Please consider the following needs that will no longer be met by PARC:

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PARC’s Presentation to Veterans for Peace

Please check out the below presentation we gave in April 2017 about the origins and work of Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community.  Also, here is an anti-war Radical Rap radio show that Verbena hosted on KMUD April 17, 2017: https://www.mediafire.com/?4ljyg6dw8y4ecob


WE THANK AND ACKNOWLEDGE ALL OF YOU who donate to PARC– we know you support us from your Social Security checks, your as you struggle with health problems, while you raise a family, while you support your loved ones, as you work your asses off, even though you are thousands of miles away, while you struggle with injustice, as you create your art, as you teach, while you build or work to repair your communities, as you provide daily healthcare, as you rescue animals, and while there are so many worthwhile projects and movements and people to support. THANK YOU!

PARC Presentation to Veterans For Peace, Humboldt Bay, Chapter 56 

PARC is an organizing and resource space that has been in Eureka CA, where it started, since Nov. 2007. Many of us who established the space had been organizing as PEOPLE PROJECT and Acción Zapatísta for several years. Earlier in 2007, we created a beautiful encampment in Arcata, the purpose of which was to expose and bring attention to: the fact that there is no free and legal place for people to sleep; the criminalization of people who are poor, homeless, and have no place for dignified rest; and the human rights violations that accompany an intentional politics of cruelty. Some of you might remember that 12 day and night encampment because Jim Sorter and other Vets For Peace would share dinner with us during sunsets.

So, PARC was created with that kind of organizing in mind- the need for space to meet and simply be, to work and build solidarity and power among the people, and a space that was welcoming, and often run by people of color and LGBTQI folks. In the summer of 2007, Martin Cotton II, a white homeless man with visible mental health issues, unarmed, was beat to death by Eureka Police in front of the Eureka Rescue Mission, and thrown in the jail- where he died. Those of us doing copwatch work realized that we needed a place where the many witnesses could safely come and talk about what they saw and experienced.

Those are the origins of PARC which we say is “focused on justice and care.”

We have run a modest, grassroots space for almost 10 years now- all donation-based, all volunteer. We’re still dealing with the same realities that led to the PEOPLE PROJECT encampment, and have created other safe sleeping spaces in Eureka, weekly “End the War on the Poor” protests, a campaign to raise Eureka’s minimum wage, and myriad projects against state violence. Many groups have used the space. Many military veterans plug in with PARC, as volunteers or to access resources. PARC is very active in the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS), working to end solitary confinement in CA prisons and jails and support the prisoner class led human rights movement. Currently, we are trying to end a torture campaign of sleep deprivation in CA’s solitary confinement units. We have 4 phone lines-for the statewide PHSS, PARC, Jail Support, and Redwood Curtain CopWatch. We do court support and strategizing- for tenants’ rights, for people getting put through the in-justice system, assisting people who’ve had their rights violated, child custody and family court support, help with restraining orders, homeless court intake, filing paperwork, documenting situations, and the list goes on. We also do a lot of dishes, laundry and vacuuming.

PARC is open 7 days a week, 9-12 hours a day, facilitating many essential community functions and what the Black Panthers would call “Survival Programs.” Unlike other facilities, we have a no paperwork, no hoops policy. No applications, no breathalyzers, no proof of id. A person does not have to meet any special requirements in order to receive experienced advocacy or have their basic needs met. No one is charged (or gets paid) for assistance, space, food, literature or other resources.

PARC is the ONLY place that provides jail support to assist people who’ve been arrested. Many of these arrests result from direct actions (environmental, anti-war, homeless rights, immigration rights, anti-police brutality). Also, jail support is provided for people arrested unexpectedly on the streets or in their cars.  We help people successfully navigate through the complicated court proceedings resulting from arrest and organize more support.

PARC takes a stand against sexism, racism, heterosexism, homophobia, bullying, and state intrusion. PARC not only provide services and resources, but we ACTIVELY organize and speak against oppressive state forces of violence, intimidation, control, and harassment and discrimination from anyone in general. The daily PARC crowd is multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-gendered, and from a wide spectrum of life experiences. We assist people on an individual basis, understanding the ‘big picture’ injustices that have created such needs, traumas, and crises of humanity and planet.

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Simply, we are in solidarity with all oppressed peoples and want our work to help create a healthier, more caring world. https://www.youcaring.com/other/help-keep-parc-open-for-the-people-/153592/update/488509

PARC-web size

CATCHING UP FOR LAST MONTH’S RENT, MOVING FORWARD

Hey folks. Just a short message to humbly ask for some money.  Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community, now open each and every day (almost) for 8 1/2 years, borrowed $200 for June 2016 rent. We need to pay it back. And we’re coming on July, too. Bills, rent, toilet paper, you know.

If you’re new to PARC, please read some of our previous, more detailed “panhandling” posts/emails. Please help and pass this on to more people who might be able to support a fully grassroots, volunteer and donation-based resource and organizing center.

We appreciate you.  Simply, we are in solidarity with all oppressed peoples’ and want our work to help create a healthier, more caring world.

~Verbena

How to donate:

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January 14, 2013
This morning, a man staying at the Eureka Rescue Mission (an evangelical Christian shelter unavailable to many] was told by a staff member the following: a young man who the shelter turned away the night before because he didn’t pass the required BREATHALYZER to eat or sleep at the Mission, died in the cold. Froze to death. IT’S TIME, FOLKS. TIME TO RISK YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND SAVE LIVES. WE ARE READY TO ASSIST AS EXPLAINED BELOW. More blankets and sleeping bags need as well. ~Verbena (707)442-7465

EMERGENCY- Freezing weather and people with no shelter.

Cold weather, especially over an extended period of time, takes a heavy toll on the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members in our community.

A few years ago, a small household in Eureka, made its garage available as a safe sleeping space for people with no shelter. The household and a group of friends (many PEOPLE PROJECT folks) organized the space in response to the dangerous weather and police conditions on the street. It was actually quite simple. Prior to opening the safe sleeping space, we discussed how we thought it would work best. One of the things decided beforehand was that we would make the space available for 11 nights (December 21-31), and would be explicit about that time frame, so that people sleeping there could depend on a stable schedule.

At this time, opening your home or some covered space is imperative. We were so grateful for the garage, and all went well. Being only a temporary situation, we are reaching out to you, asking you to open your garage, yard, or big room for whatever time you decide is possible.
We imagine a rotating emergency sleeping space.

We have found that when a community cooperates and shares in the protection of its most vulnerable members, the result is a vital sense of security experienced by all.

The people who shared their garage and those of us who supported and helped coordinate that emergency shelter space are available to talk with you about our experiences. We are eager to assist you in many ways if you are able to open up a sleeping space.

Ways we can assist you include: collecting floor padding, blankets, sleepware, and other necessary warm things (the garage just used had a cement floor); driving folks who need a ride to and from the space; and being present in the sleeping space overnight. The volunteer-run PARC (Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community) in downtown Eureka fully supports the creation of temporary or permanent dignified community sleeping spaces. PARC is available, for any set-up you may provide, as a phone contact, a donation drop-off, and a dedicated resource for people offering or utilizing a safe shelter.

Please Call PARC: (707) 442-7465

People can and do freeze to death in cold or wet or windy weather.. here we have all three at once. And the police continue to harass people and ruin their gear in the rain and cold. Please call and/or email if you want to talk about opening a space up yourself. It is freezing at night, and we can make a way through these hard times together.

Please Call PARC: (707) 442-7465

The following are the guidelines that were posted on the inside of the garage. You may have some different ideas for your place. We believe that emphasizing honor, dignity, and relationship makes for a truly “safe space.”

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ WELCOME ///////////////////////////

This is a hate-free space. that means…
NO racism, sexism, homophobia, etc
* please no physical or verbal violence
* smaller room is for women only
* bigger room is for all

To protect this safe sleeping space…
– no drinking alcohol or doing drugs (including pot) here
– use lights, not candles
– every night, come through front house door when you first arrive;
then use the front gate to go in/out.
– use bathroom in the house (walk in back door, then to right)
– quiet after 9pm, and during cigarette breaks

You are welcome to sleep here…
– every night through the night of Dec 31st.
– Please come in no earlier than 6pm and no later than 10:30pm
-mornings, out by 9am please

Please do not leave your belongings here,
as no-one is here to protect them

Please communicate theses guide-lines with newcomers

If you need anything, please feel free to ask.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\///////////////////////////////////////////

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Please honor this day and night appropriately. And remember every other day of the year. Struggle with the People on the Streets!

Longest Night of the Year

Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day

HOMELESS PEOPLE DIE FROM SYSTEMIC VIOLENCE

Homeless people die from illnesses that affect everyone, frequently without health care.
Homeless people die from exposure, unprotected from the heat and cold.
Homeless people die when government policies deprive them of everything.
Homeless people die at the hands of police and civilians in unprovoked hate crimes.
Health care is a human right.
Housing is a human right.
Physical safety is a human right.
Sleep is a human right.
Remember our neighbors and friends who have died without homes.
Remember why they died.

December 21 Winter Solstice. The Extreme of Winter. The Longest Night of the Year.

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November’s “Radical Rap” Addresses Inhumane Treatment of Houseless People in Southern Humboldt

Radical Rap is a radio show on KMUD radio that runs the 2nd Wednesday of the month (most months).  You can listen live at:  http://kmud.org/programs-mainmenu-11/listen-live-kmud

Here is a link to download and hear Radical Rap from Nov. 14, 2012:  https://www.box.com/s/m6qi2q41bt3xf9g3fh75

 

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This Crow Won’t Fly

The United States has a long history of using mean-spirited and often brutal laws to keep “certain” people out of public spaces and out of public consciousness.  Jim Crow laws segregated the South after the Civil War and Sundown Towns forced people to leave town before the sun set. The anti-Okie law of 1930s California forbade poor Dustbowl immigrants from entering the state and Ugly Laws (on the books in Chicago until the 1970s) swept the country and criminalized people with disabilities for allowing themselves to be seen in public.

Today, such laws target mostly homeless people and are commonly called “quality of life” or “nuisance crimes.”  They criminalize sleeping, standing, sitting, and even food-sharing.  Just like the laws from our past, they deny people their right to exist in local communities.

In June of this year, Rhode Island took a meaningful stand against this criminalization, and passed the first statewide Homeless Bill of Rights in the country. The Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)—a West Coast grassroots network of homeless people’s organizations—is now launching simultaneous campaigns in California and Oregon. Rhode Island will only be the beginning.

Today’s “quality of life” laws and ordinances have their roots in the broken-windows theory.  This theory holds that one poor person in a neighborhood is like a first unrepaired broken window and if the “window” is not immediately fixed or removed, it is a signal that no one cares, disorder will flourish, and the community will go to hell in a handbasket.

For this theory to make sense, you first have to step away from thinking of people, or at least poor people, as human beings. You need to objectify them. You need to see them as dusty broken windows in a vacant building.  That is why we now have Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) with police enforcement to keep that neighborhood flourishing by keeping poor, unsightly people out of it.

We have gone from the days where people could be told “you can’t sit at this lunch counter” to “you can’t sit on this sidewalk,” from “don’t let the sun set on you here” to “this public park closes at dusk” and from “you’re on the wrong side of the tracks” to “it is illegal to hang out” on this street or corner.

Unless we organize, it isn’t going to get much better soon.   Since 1982, the federal government has cut up to $52 billion a year from affordable housing and pushed hundreds of thousands of people into the  shelter system or into the street.  Today we continue to have three million people a year without homes.  1982 also marked the beginning of homelessness as a “crime wave” that would consume the efforts of local and state police forces over the next three decades.  Millions of people across the country sitting, lying down, hanging out, and — perhaps worst of all – sleeping are cited in crime statistics.
WRAP and our allies recently conducted outreach to over 700 homeless people in 13 cities; we found 77% of people had been arrested, cited, or harassed for sleeping, 75% for loitering, and 73% for sitting on a sidewalk.

We are right back to Jim Crow Laws, Sundown Towns, Ugly Laws and Anti-Okie Laws, local laws that profess to “uphold the locally accepted obligations of civility.” Such laws have always been used by people in power against those on the outside. In other words, today’s Business Improvement Districts and Broken Window Laws are, at their core, a reincarnation of various phases of American history none of us is proud of.

And they reflect a political voice now openly entering the political and media mainstream that dismisses social justice as economically irrelevant and poor people as humanly irrelevant.

This is not about caring for or even advocating for “those people.” This is about all of us. As Aboriginal leader Lilla Watson said, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”  If you are not homeless, if you are not the target now, then understand that you are next. Isolated and fragmented, we lose this fight.

But we are no longer isolated and fragmented.  On April 1, WRAP and USCAI (US Canadian Alliance of Inhabitants) sponsored a  Day of Action in 17 cities.  We are one of hundreds of organizations and allies, from Massachusetts to NewYork and from Tennessee to California, all separate but all working together to give meaning to social justice and protect the civil and human rights of all of us.

We can only win this struggle if we use our collective strengths, organizing, outreach, research, public education, artwork, and direct actions. We are continuing to expand our network of organizations and cities and we will ultimately bring down the whole oppressive system of policing poverty and treating poor people as “broken windows” to be discarded and replaced.

To join our campaign for a Homeless Bill of Rights in both California and Oregon contact WRAP at wrap@wraphome.org and we will hook you up with organizers working in both of these states or others as this movement continues to grow.

 

Posted on August 27, 2012 by WRAP Comms

This Crow Won’t Fly:
http://wraphome.org/?p=2466&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=119

Criminalization Fact Sheet:
http://wraphome.org/?p=2474&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=119

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