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Housing Justice Village Arrestees Respond to Jailing by City of Oakland
by Dave Id
Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
In a political show of force, the city of Oakland directed a small army of police to mass arrest and jail 22 housing rights demonstrators on November 24, for nothing more than setting up tents in front of city hall to protest the city's never ending war against the homeless. Most arrestees spent at least 24 hours in Santa Rita, and some remained jailed for over two days, on what would otherwise be a citable infraction. On December 2, arrestees held a press conference to address the city's attack and why they protested in the first place.
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[Photo: Press conference speakers inside Pro Arts Gallery & Commons at 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Pictured left to right: Ayat Jalal, Rae, Rosa Pergams, Jazmine Davis, Yanna Johnson, Twan, Needa Bee, and Genevieve Southwick.]


Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Orders Mass Arrest of Housing Justice Village Protesters
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/12/23/18829113.php

Oakland Unhoused Neighbors Create Housing Justive Village at City Hall (report from morning)
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/11/24/18828389.php
§Full audio of press conference
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
Listen now:
Copy the code below to embed this audio into a web page:
(audio 1:14:02)

Note that a small portion of Needa Bee's response to the city's statement on mass arrests is missing (indicated by a short tone), the text of which can be found below.
§Rosa Pergams
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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§Rosa Pergams: Press conference introductory statement
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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My name is Rosa - I am a renter here in Oakland and I work as a web developer. I was arrested for protesting to demand an immediate end to the Oakland City Government's terror campaign against those in our community who have been forced out of their homes - and onto the streets - to make way for the wealthy. We demand an immediate end to the destruction of our unsheltered neighbors' property - an end to the demolition of self-built homes - and an end to the harassment, criminalization and incarceration of our communities.

As we peacefully demonstrated at Oscar Grant Plaza, protesters - as well as bystanders - were arrested and jailed with the outrageous bail of five-thousand-dollars per person - to discourage us from continuing. However, we will not be discouraged from continuing our struggle to demand housing and dignity for all.

While the Oakland City Government terrorizes our unsheltered neighbors, developers and landlords profit from a housing market that pushes people onto the streets through high rents and private property rights backed by police terror. People - especially Black people - are forced out of their homes to make way for those who can afford to pay more for housing.

Homelessness is a symptom of an exploitative system that puts profits before people - the system that enshrines developers' and landlords' right to profit in the first place - off of stolen indigenous land.

Homelessness in Oakland has increased by forty-seven percent since two-thousand-seventeen.

While there are more empty residences in Oakland than there are people without housing, and unprecedented millions have been spent to solve homelessness in Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf has claimed that the primary cause of houselessness in the city is a shortage of housing.

In reality, Schaaf's job as mayor is not to house the unhoused but to oil the machine that necessarily creates homelessness in the first place - the exploitative system that produces and distributes housing to further enrich the already rich instead of to fulfill human needs. Our city governments are instruments for the exploitation of the oppressed class - maximizing profits for developers and landlords at the expense of the rest of us.

Because I see that our neighbors are terrorized for being hbmeless by the very forces that have taken their homes, I understand that the struggle of the housed and of the unhoused is the same struggle. Those of us paying rent we cannot really afford, those of us a paycheck away from being unsheltered, and those of us who can no longer find a way to afford to pay rent, clearly share the same struggle. We see that the housed and the unhoused have a common enemy - in those becoming richer while the rest of us become poorer.

This is why we unite as people of many backgrounds to take a stand against the continued terror of unsheltered people by the Oakland City Government. We will continue our struggle so that we can begin to make possible a world where we are not criminalized for existing - where Black and indigenous people may determine our own destiny - and where a home is guaranteed to every person. Thank you.

Rosa Pergams is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation , Black queer feminist and web developer based in the Bay Area. They have moved about six times in the past year largely due to laws that ultimately protect landlords and capital over renters. They are an organizer in the struggle against gentrification and police terror.
§Jazmine Davis
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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§Jazmine Davis: Housing Justice Village demands
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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WHAT DO WE WANT?

1. An immediate end to evictions of curbside communities, demolitions of homes and towing of vehicles people Iive in or store belongings in.

2. An immediate end to the destruction of curbside residents' personal property and survival gear.

3. The City Council directed the Mayor and her Administration two years ago to identify and make available at least two parcels of public land in each district to be used for sanctuaries, villages or other community led emergency approaches to support and shelter curbslde communities. This never happened, and must happen immediately.

4 . No more fundraising for or building any more Tuff Sheds. These programs are a waste of money and not effective to meet the scale of the homeless state of emergency or the actual needs of curbside residents.

5. An end to market rate and above market rate development. The City must turn its attention to neglected, deeply affordable housing development goals in the next year.

6. Immediately upgrade all curbside communities with adequate portapotties, trash services, clean drinking water, solar power and improvements to self-built homes.

7. Due to his anti-homeless tendencies, his abuse of power, his complete disregard of the humanity and rights of curbside residents, his mismanagement of millions of dollars to go towards solutions to homelessness — we call for an immediate dismissal of Assistant to the Administrator Joe DeVries. Due to his deep anti-homeless biases and arbitrary decision making that impact the lives and well being of Oakland's unhoused he cannot lead the approaches to solve this crisis.

a. The immediate implementation of City Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas' recommendations to align all The City's approaches to homelessness with a human rights lens.

9. The demilitarization of encampments and the immediate dissolution of the City of Oakland's Encampment Management Team.
§Needa Bee
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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[City's statement on mass arrests]

My name is Needa Bee. I am a single mother, a writer, a dancer, a chef, a business woman, the program director of Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, an event producer, activist and organizer. And I am currently unhoused in Oakland.

Of the more than 80 protesters who were present at The Housing Justice Village, 30 were unhoused. Of those arrested 10 are unhoused, and 4 are housing insecure. We, the unhoused and housing insecure who were arrested are students, workers, artists, musicians, business owners, non-profit staff, parents, grassroots organizers, taxpayers and voters. We are just like our housed neighbors, except we are without adequate permanent housing. Many of us have been on every affordable housing and public housing list available, some of us have been on these lists for ten years.

The City and Mayor stated they stand behind the right for people to peacefully protest. However, citing, arresting and putting us in jail overnight is not in support of peaceful protesters. It was a violation of our 1st Amendment Right. Since 1896, the plaza in front of city hall has been a site for numerous political assemblies, protests and civil disobedience. It is, The City's Commons, not a park. To arbitrarily impose a Parks and Rec ordinance on The Commons, outside that ordinance's jurisdiction is a blatant attempt to silence us. We were there deliberately to protest the Mayor and her Encampment Management Team's inhumane treatment of Oakland's unhoused and to dispel the lies and misinformation they have been feeding the media and public.

They did not want the truth to be known.

Furthermore, citing those of us who are unhoused is a violation of our 8th Amendment Protection as interpreted in the 9th Appellate Court case of Martin vs. Boise.

The City staff never met with us, despite their claims. And as the case in all other evictions, demolitions, closures, and tows, Human Service staff never came to do their paid job of providing support and housing navigation.

The City's public statement also claims it followed their policy to "Bag and Tag" our belongings. If this is true, this will be the first time in the past three years advocates have been tracking the Department of Public Works' behavior during clean and clears, curbside evictions, curbside home demolitions that they will have followed their policy.

We have not been notified where our property is or how to retrieve our property. None of our property has been recovered, and multiple unhoused arrestees are without phones, IDs and wallets.

Once the sun had set, The City had police officers tell us we could have a bed at St. Vincent De Paul for the night. This offer continued till 11:30pm. However, to get a bed at St. Vincent De Paul you must arrive to their facility at 5pm. We wanted to know why and how this special treatment was possible. Also, the six hours they were offering us was not adequate for our needs, and did not offer stability. A protest camp was more stable than a night in St. Vincent De Paul. At St. Vincent De Paul we would be forced to leave at 7am and carry our gear around all day. And for many of us, the lack of cleanliness, the chance of having your gear stolen, and rude staff was not an environment that was adequate for safety or stability.

The shelter system is broken. The City knows this. The homeless service providers know this. And the unsheltered know this. Yet The Mayor wants to use millions of dollars to build more homeless shelters without drastically fixing this broken system. Many of us have advocated and advised that if The City is set on shelter beds, they should in the very least improve the existing system instead of wasting public funds in a system that recycles people in and out of the streets. And why should millions be spent on beds when those resources could be used to build permanent housing?

The main push prior to the creation of new homeless shelters was the Tuff Shed Scam. Tuff sheds do not work. They do not improve the lives of the vast majority of people who are pushed through them. Much like the shelter system, a majority of people are recycled back onto the streets after spending 6 months to a year in the tuff sheds. In addition, the mismanagement of the tuff shed sites by non-profits receiving a half a million dollars to run them is unacceptable. The Village and Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute has documented dozens of testimonies of abuse, punishment, loss of personal property, dismal conditions, harm and violence from former residents of the Tuff Sheds. The Tuff Shed program is merely a cosmetic approach that gives the illusion of doing something, while making homeless residents - not the homeless crisis - disappear.

The Mayor and her Encampment Management Team needs to come clean. Approaching homelessness as a humanitarian crisis is not their priority. However, approaching homelessness as an eye sore to their profit driven development plans is a priority that is making a handful of people very rich. The money is not reaching the people it has been intended to help.

There are literally thousands of Oaklanders, mostly Black, mostly born and raised in Oakland, living on the streets tonight. Meanwhile, for every one unhoused person, four residential units stay empty in Oakland.

Meanwhile, 200 permanent housing units have been approved to be built over the next five years. Over that same time 50,000 market rate and above market rate units will be built.

The City is lying. They have no intention to solve the affordable housing crisis or the homeless state of emergency. They have every intention of building for rich, white people who do not live here, while they leave The Town on the streets to freeze to death.
§Yanna Johnson
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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§Yanna Johnson: How Oakland Treats Unhoused Citizens
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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My name is Yanna Johnson, I am a single mother, an entrepreneur, a longtime taxpayer and voter, born and raised in Oakland, who worked with and voted for Libby Schaaf. I survived the Encampment Management Team's demolition of my emergency home while I was homeless.

Mayor Libby Schaaf has been lying to the public regarding city actions against unhoused Oakland citizens. She "claims" to have taken a compassionate and humane approach. Her current actions have been ineffective : taxpayer and voter resources wasted on knocking down Oakland residents who need her help the most. Libby Schaaf destroyed a yurt the community built for me at the Housing & Dignity Village almost a year ago today. Now I am seeing her organizing to provide the same fate to my community. She has met unhoused residents attempts to create stability during this crisis with aggressive tactics, which is why in addition to the Housing Justice Village demands, i am seeking at this time to recall Libby Schaaf from office.

Libby has often left the media, and voters in the dark. Especially,when they violate unhoused citizens 4th/8th/14th amendment rights by illegally searching and seizing property, punishing and criminalizing unhoused residents for trying to survive while unhoused, and not giving unhoused residents the same rights and protections as housed residents. Libby & her Encampment Management Team's actions have resulted in 5 separate, ongoing civil rights lawsuits against the city of Oakland. Libby and her team's action also earned the United Nations attention. Last year, the United Nations internationally recognized the city of Oakland as one of the top human rights violators of unhoused people in the world.

What an embarrassing record to hold. Could it be why she also does not inform the public or allow media to display the current response tactics used against unhoused citizens

The demolishing of miniature built housing, the towing of unhoused vehicles, and criminalizing her citizens leaving them in total despair?? These tactics trigger emotional, mental and physical setbacks. Responses such as depression /ptsd/ anxiety and panic attacks are common. Imagine losing something you have known as your residence. Now, imagine how disruptive it is to your equilibrium when someone disposes your personal belongings. It also increase chances of losing employment or employment opportunities.

The way The City is using resources is not effective. We do not see our tax dollars hard at work for the citizens of Oakland who need it most. In fact she approved our tax dollars (700k annual income) without proper protocol to David Silver - a man directing her favorite non profit Oakland Promise. He is not an Oakland Voter, nor resident. All while we see our local people dying without housing in the streets.

All of Libby Schaafs solutions to the homeless crisis are temporary and don't match the size or need of this crisis, The main approach she has been pushing as a success are her "Tuff Sheds." Not only does the manufacturer of the Tuff Sheds report that human inhabitation in their product will cause respiratory disease and cancer, but their mismanagement by non-profits receiving a half a million to staff them has resulted in dozens of testimonies of abuse, mistreatment, suffering and harm. Why is the two years that Libby and the Encampment Management Team has had access to unprecedented millions, there are no resolutions are for permanent housing for Oakland's unhoused demographic.Why over the next 5 years are there only 200 units for low income residents and over 50,000 housing units that are market rate and above? Libby's goal is to drive long time citizens to relocate to alternative cities, while the city attempts to bring a new market to Oakland... and still driving out national sport teams.

City Council recommendations have been ignored... especially for public land for sanctuaries /village land/and immediate alternatives to traditional permanent housing. We are tired of the lack of assistance for the unhoused and racial disparity felt throughout the Oakland community, while OPD makes $30million in overtime pay ANNUALLY the last 3 years. This can no longer be ignored. We don't want anymore of Libby's Oakland... or her Promises. Please help me recall Libby Schaaf as Mayor it would open doors to new prosperity and hopefully get us some professional sporting teams back into rotation.

This Tuesday and Wednesday Libby Schaaf plans to use more of our tax dollars to destroy curbside communities of Kirkham (between 16th/18th.West Oakland), Joaquin Miller Park, and in East Oakland ( 83rd and 84th on e13th & e14th), in the rain. The city plans on taking their homes and with no permanent alternative, destroy the tight knit communities that lean on each other to survive, and erase any stability they have created for themselves. Their idea of housing is in an overnight shelter that city reps would die before bringing themselves or children and families to be placed. I personally challenge the city to stay overnight at any of the facilities they attempt to place the unhoused. The Housing & Dignity Village provided a safe shelter space for myself and other single mothers of Oakland and our families. Her greed took that away. We demand the city of Oakland turn our demands into policies that are implemented and enforced. And I call upon the community to join the recall effort.
§Ayat Jalal
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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The Impacts of Gentrification on Oakland's Black Community By Ayat Jalal I am Ayat Jalal, a 46 year old Black Seminole, son of Black Panthers. Because of them I've been president of a nonprofit corporation, and have had two businesses. I am a father-of-six, a founding member of "First They Came For The Homeless", member of The Village, carpenter, published poet, artist and organizer, who is currently couch surfing in Oakland.

Homeless, like the victims of unfair housing practices introduced to Oakland when Jerry Brown became Mayor, that denied public housing to families who had a member who was a felon. I am part of the 70 percent homeless Black population in Oakland, unable to find peace between the rent hikes and camp closures.

For the past 20 years, Blacks in Oakland have lost their homes to abatement laws and fines to the courts and bail bondsman. Generations and families that have only known Oakland as home, have lost the only anchor in the only communities they have known before Gentrification hit Oakland.

However, gentrification is nothing new. It's just a different name for the same colonial racism. The same systematic displacement and shaming of targeted populations. We minorities, who make up the majority of the population, have had our families and lives torn apart by unjust laws. Gang injunctions made our youth targets for wearing the same gear or same hats. Schools in Oakland are closed down and our children are harassed, cited and arrested by police. Given criminal charges. For not being in school. Our families lose strength and we're made unwhole and broken.

Our schools are still being closed, and housing blocked as an inhumane tactic of social and economic oppression of Oaklanders. And police are used like assassins, and pawns in this war to maintain poverty.

Our schools are still being closed, while police receive new equipment to hunt us down in the street like prey.

Affordable housing continues to be denied, while private industry builds prisons and above market rate housing.

Oaklanders still want decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings. And if the government and landlords will not give decent housing to the Red, Black, and Brown communities, then as my parents and the other Panther taught us, housing and the land needs to be made into cooperatives so that our communities, with the people's aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.

The Civil Rights struggle has helped inspire the fight for human rights almost everywhere in the world. Black people once led that struggle. The assasination of our leaders, the flooding of our streets with drugs, the lack of adequate jobs and education, the inaccessibility of adequate housing, the decimation of the Black economic base - all destroyed our communities. And its cost us decades of cultural and generational attacks on Red, Yellow , Brown and Black people.

That struggle continues still. Still to this day, no matter the jury, no matter the administration, we're not judged by peers nor given proper government representation. The struggle continues. The silencing of protesters, the crystal meth and heron epidemic currently flooding our communities, the closure of schools, the lack of access to jobs, the lack of adequate housing. Libby Shaft and Joe Devrey have repeated history. They have no compassion , nor the capacity to be humane. They have proven this in their actions during this emergency crisis on homelessness. The current administration don't care about the culture or people of the Real Oakland - the Black, Red, Brown , working class and poor. And we need to do something about that. We insist The City Council turn the Housing Justice Village demands into policies that are implemented and enforced. We insist that the people of Oakland move forward forever. The government is obviously not for us or with us in this struggle.
§Genevieve Southwick
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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§Genevieve Southwick: Treatment of Arrestees
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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Treatment of Arrestees Genevieve Southwick Good morning, my name is Genevieve Southwick and until recently, I was a non-profit event organizer. Currently, I'm unemployed, on Disability Insurance, and housing insecure sleeping on a friend's couch in West Oakland. My presence at Oscar Grant Plaza last Sunday was in solidarity with all unsheltered folks everywhere, as well as for all of us that are one missed check or emergency away from joining you. Our traumatic arrests should be seen as a direct indictment of the State, the City of Oakland, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, and the Oakland Police Department's abuse of power and the law.

In violation of our constitutional rights, 22 of us, 10 of whom are unhoused, were arrested for exercising our first amendment rights by the Oakland PD on the morning of Monday, November 25th. 60 Oakland police officers, an excessive number, waited for media agencies to leave Oscar Grant Plaza that evening, then they illegally entered tents locked from the inside without a warrant, dragging us from them - inflicting trauma to all, and injury to some, including what may be permanent shoulder damage to one of our organizers. When our sister demanded that her pat down not be conducted by a male officer, the responding female officer crossed the line in her search, to the point of molestation.

From inside my tent on the Plaza that night I heard my neighbor screaming in pain, as she was physically removed from her tent, while other voices yelled for the cops to stop hurting her and to let her go. Eventually I heard a voice identifying themselves as Oakland Police, directly outside my tent and I was requested to step out. I asked if they had adequate housing available and they offered me a bed at St. Vincent de Paul for less than 6 hours, with no assistance beyond that. Not only is this not adequate shelter by any mean, but from would I've heard from the experiences of other non-binary folks, that is not a safe or welcoming space for gender non-conforming humans.

After being searched and cuffed, we spent some time on the plaza steps awaiting transport to Santa Rita. While we waited, we watch DPW throw our tents and everything in them, into dump trucks and drive off. Laptops; backpacks; last mile transportation; prescription meds; cell phones; cash; bank cards and wallets -easily several thousand dollars' worth of our lives and livelihoods- and all of it is still missing. None of us were given claim receipts or information on how to retrieve our property. Even one of our housed allies is having difficulty locating it for us.

Our trans sisters were misgendered, separated and subjected to cruel and unusual treatment, to the point of one of them being dressed out in reds, meaning they were deemed high-risk-simply because their pronouns didn't match their outward appearance. This high-risk designation also placed them in solitary confinement for the majority of their stay, which can be extremely traumatic. Our only Black brother arrested, Ayat, was dressed out in yellow and put in medium security, which insinuates to other incarcerated folks and jail staff that he wouldn't back down from a fight.

The rest of us were processed through without too much hassle, other than the expected psychological abuse. We were given meals barely passed as food.

The Sheriffs did their jobs and told us to shut-up, alot. They seemed 50% professional and 50% condescendingly snarky.

Processing us through Santa Rita taught us a lot, including that by arresting 22 protesters without real cause, the jail's processing system was so backed up, weekenders and others being processed out, were hung-up for hours in the backlog, violating their due process rights, as well.

Criminalizing the unhoused is illegal, immoral, unjust and inhumane. The City of Oakland and Mayor Schaff's Office, as well as the OPD, should be held accountable for their violation of our Rights, and the Rights of all unhoused Oakland residents!
§Jazmine Davis: Treatment of Prisoners in Santa Rita Jail
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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Treatment of Prisoners in Santa Rita Jail By Jazmine Davis Hello, my name is Jazmine and I am housing insecure. I am a musician and I am from the bay area.

When I was in Santa Rita, I met several women who had been arrested for warrants they did not know about even after following up with the police.

One woman who was booked around the same time we were booked, had just gotten home from work only to find that the police had beaten her there and arrested her on the spot for a warrant she did not know about.

Her boyfriend immediately posted her bail and waited outside from 4am past 11 am while she sat in the holding cell.

While in the transfer room, I met a woman who was a weekender, which meant that she had a prearranged release time every Sunday with the court so that she could get to work. But jail guards ignored her and kept her there for hours after her scheduled release time.

Another woman had been sitting in the transfer room for 7 hours before I got there and was also supposed to be released, but kept getting responses such as "we need to find your paperwork first," even though she had it in her hands.

While I was in my pod, I learned my cellmates had not eaten between 6 am and 3 pm and hadn't been outside in multiple days. My cellmates described the emotional abuse they received and even pointed out which guards smuggled in different drugs. When we did eat, it was bologna and nearly stale bread maybe with a tangerine and powdered "juice" which shouldn't legally pass as food. Sometimes you won't even receive a cup for your drink.

There were no trash cans or toilet paper in the holding cells. There was no privacy either. Once, one of us was using the toilet, and another imprisoned protester stood up to give them privacy as a guard walked in. The guard threatened to taze the prisoner who stood up. This kind of verbal abuse and threats were common.

Meanwhile on the men's side, they had become tired of being abused and faced unfair labor conditions to the point in which they started a strike. Until we told them about the strike, the women's side had no idea about the men's organized resistance, but had been given all the men's duties while the men's complaints went ignored; they were in completely separate worlds.
§Rae: Human rights violations of LGBTQI arrestees at Santa Rita
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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(statement text not available, but included in audio above)
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(statement text not available, but included in audio above)

Twan works with First They Came for the Homeless, resides in Here/There encampment in Berkeley, and came to Oakland to show solidarity.
§Steven DeCaprio
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI)
http://www.mclihumanrights.org
End the Criminalization of Homelessness and Enforce Human Rights in the U.S.

Submitted by:
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of United States of America

Third Cycle
36th Session of the UPR
Human Rights Council
May 2020

SUMMARY

• In this submission the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI) asks the Human Rights Council and its member states to denounce the U.S. criminalization and mistreatment of the homeless. We also ask that MCLl's prior report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Questions to the Human Rights Committee be reviewed during the Universal Periodic Review due to the Trump administration's violation of reporting requirements under their respective treaties.

BACKGROUND

U.S. REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE IN REPORTING

• The U.S. administration of Donald Trump has refused to follow treaty obligations to provide reports to U.N. Committees. Because of this it is more urgent that the Human Rights Council and its member states hold the U.S. accountable for human rights violations.

• In violation of its treaty reporting obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination the U.S. refused to submit a report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) due November 20, 2017. However, the Melklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI) submitted a shadow report to CERD, but CERD has taken no action. MCLI requests that the Human Rights Council review that report.

• The U.S. refusal to participate in reporting to CERD is more poignant given Donald Trump's racist rhetoric and an increase in white supremacist activity.

• Most human rights monitoring relies on state parties to provide reports, and the U.S. refusal to participate has disrupted monitoring efforts. However, the U.N. Human Rights Committee has allowed NGO's to submit lists of questions for review in the absence of U.S. participation. MCLI requests that the Human Rights Council review the list of questions MCLI provided to the Human Rights Committee on January 14, 2019.

• In this submission MCLI calls upon the Human Rights Council and its member states to demand the end of the following human rights violations in the U.S.:

1. The crimina lization of homelessness.

2. Structural barriers preventing access to courts for low income people, Latin Americans, and African Americans.

3. Mass incarceration which disproportionately incarcerates African Americans, Latin Americans, and poor people.

4. Slavery through incarceration and exploitative labor conditions.

5. The criminalization of sex workers including FOSTA-SESTA which criminalizes communication.

6. Lack of accountability for law enforcement officers engaged in extrajudicial violence including killing of nonviolent or unarmed peopl e.

7. Separation of children from their families without justification and isolation of these children from their culture, language, and community within systems of immigration, foster care, and adoption.

• Due to word limits MCLI cannot address all these issues in this submission. Accordingly, MCLI will focus on violations of the human rights of homeless people.

CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMELESSNESS

• The U.S. criminalizes homelessness in violation of Articles 2, 7, 9, 17 and 26 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as Article I 6 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

• Also, criminalization of homelessness undermines the human right to housing guaranteed by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as well as Articles 22, 24, and 28 ofUDHR and Articles JO, 12, 13, and 15 ofICESCR which the U.S. has signed and is still awaiting ratification. The U.S. has stated that it is "committed to not defeating the object and purpose of [ICESCR]"

• In the United States many cities, counties, and state governments engage in criminalizing activities essential to life sustaining activity such as sitting, lying, sleeping, eating, urinating, defecating, loitering, panhandling, and seeking shelter. These laws and policies seek to criminalize homelessness with the intention of removing the homeless from communities by imprisonment or pressuring unhoused residents to leave their community.

• These policies have been documented by U.N. Special Rapporteurs. U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston documented the mistreatment of the homeless in the United States in his report from May 4, 2018. U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha also documented the mistreatment of the homeless in the United States in her report from September 19, 2018.

• The Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) recently commissioned a study by Policy Advocacy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law which found that so-called "Business Improvement Districts" require the criminalization of homelessness as part of systematic policies designed to remove homeless residents from targeted downtown areas and main thoroughfares in order to convert public space for private businesses.

• MCLI has witnessed local officials in Berkeley and Oakland initiate sweeps of homeless encampments while MCLI assists homeless residents access the courts resulting in multiple civil rights lawsuits. MCLI has witnessed the destruction ofunhoused residents ' possessions in trash compactors before being displaced from encampments formed as a means for survival.

• MCLI Intern Rachel Schroder wrote, "After witnessing several evictions in which the city destroyed residents ' possessions in a trash compactor as the residents stood by helplessly, I was shocked to learn that the City of Oakland's official eviction policy actually requires the Public Works Department to safely store residents' possessions and provide both an itemized list of possessions and instructions to retrieve them from storage. No one we spoke to over the course of these six months had ever seen this official protocol followed."

• "In fact, instead of upholding constitutional and human rights through the standardized procedures outlined in city policy, Oakland blatantly jeopardizes the lives of its curbside residents throughout the eviction process. I'll never forget standing next to a city trash compactor as it illegally crushed a pile of tents during an eviction. Needa Bee was across the street, trying to halt the eviction, but I was close enough to hear a steady knocking coming from within the machine. The compactor operator heard it too, and stared at the compactor door for a moment before calling, "Is someone in there?" There was no answer. I really hope he was try ing to make a bad joke at my expense but something tells me he wasn't, and that city employee was fully aware that there was at least a chance that someone was sleeping in one of the compacted tents."

• "Most commonly, I witnessed an appalling amount of illegal dumping by people who did not even live in the curbside communities. Every week, almost without fail, a car would drive up to the corner of the encampment, pull out an old mattress or boxes of broken appliances, toss them into an ever-growing trash pile in the corner of the encampment, and drive away. Dumping trash not only increases health and safety risks in these communities but also incentivizes the city to evict them. From the high rates of illegal dumping to the city's blatant disregard for its own policies, it is clear that both the city of Oakland and its residents take advantag e of the vulnerabilit y of curbside communities, leaving little for unhoused people and their advocates to work with."

• Due to the numerosity of local governments, the types of laws and policies targeting the homeless are highly varied. Some laws prohibit sitting or lying in public. Other laws prohibit sleeping in public.

• Some policies direct law enforcement to use existing laws to discriminatorily target the homeless. It is common for law enforcement to arrest or remove homeless people from public land by asserting that encampments violate trespassing or anti-camping ordinances. Other policies fail to provide a legal basis with public workers removin g encampm ents while law enforcement stands by ready to arrest the homeless who resist with charges such as "obstructing justice ".

• There have been some U.S. Courts which have found that the criminalization of homelessness violates the U.S. Constitution 's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. However, most federal courts have not, and it is unclear the extent to which such rulings have discouraged the criminalization of homeles sness by local government s due to the fact that access to the courts by the homeless is limited due to a lack of resources and specialized education necessary to navigate the courts.

• In the U.S. the majority of poor people cannot access the courts thus depriving homeless residents redress of grievances including grievances based upon human rights violations. Although individuals have the right to represent themselves in court, the ability to navigate the court system and have effective advocacy largely depends on specialized training exclusive to legal professionals such as attorneys.

• There is no right to counsel in the U.S. except for criminal defense. MCLI has been working with homeless encampments and attorneys to facilitate access to the courts, but the volume of homeless people experiencing human rights violations exceeds the capacity of NGOs, and attorneys willing to work without payment.

• Additionally, aside from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appel, most U.S. Courts have been largely unwilling to intervene to protect homeless people from abuse by local officials. The United States Supreme Court will soon hear a case at the request of the City of Boise where the city is requesting that the Supreme Court allow cities broad authority to criminalize homelessness.

• Recently, the Trump administration has begun criticizing widespread homelessness in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and "numerous other cities". He has not announced any plans, but his rhetoric does not appear to indicate a desire to work with homeless residents. Instead, Trump stated we "need to get that whole thing cleaned up." This indicates that the Trump administration is blaming homeless residents rather than current policies displacing residents from housing. Since the White House has proposed cutting funding for low-income housing, the Trump administration may consider intensifying human rights violations in order to remove homeless people from eyesight. Given the Trump administration 's immigration policies, MCLI is concerned that similar strategies may be used to remove homeless residents from public spaces.

• In General Comments from this Committee on October 30, 2018 this Committee found that the Right to Life under Article 6 of the ICCPR imposed a duty to address homelessness. Not only has the United States failed to address homelessness the United States has increased the risks associated with homelessness by criminalizing and disrupting life sustaining activity.

RECOMMENDATIONS

• The criminalization of homelessness must immediately end.

• Federal law should be enacted prohibiting the criminalization of homelessness including an accessible process for homeless individual s to hold officials accountable for criminalizing life sustaining activities.

T• he United States Government should provide funding to upgrade homeless encampments including sufficient oversight and accountability to ensure that funds are properly allocated.

• Homelessness ends with a home. The U.S. must invest in housing for low-income and no-income people. The United States Government should establish effective programs to end homelessness.

• Local governments should adopt policy proposals developed by the Bay Area Landless Peoples Alliance which was created as a collaboration led by people who are currently homeless. The proposals are as follows:

"First: All criminalization of homelessness must end immediately. All people who are sheltering themselves on public land will be immediately protected under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution which demands that public authority provide for "safe havens" for all homeless people where they can shelter themselves with dignity. This will include provision by local governments of water, sewer, toilets, sanitation, and trash removal services.

Second: To live in dignity landless people in "safe havens" will be allowed to self-govern. "Safe havens" will be run by their residents, not outside agencies nor non-profits. Local governments will provide equivalent funding to train and hire residents to provide their own services rather than hire outside contractors.

Third: Collective punishment and all other activity designed to undermine "safe havens" will end. Local officials will not raid an entire "safe haven" based on the activity of one or a small number of residents. Local authorities will also not interfere with the internal composition of residents within a "safe haven" by removing individuals without probable cause nor forcing "safe havens" to accept new residents without their consent.

Fourth: All confiscation of landless people 's property will end, and all property immediately returned.

Fifth: Officials will communicate to all public agencies the location and status of all sanctioned encampments to coordinate transitional housing services.

Sixth: Resolve that all landless people have the human right to assert self-defense against prosecution for activities necessary for survival. Prohibitions on sleeping, sitting, lying, panhandling, performing, and loitering in public will end. Individuals will be allowed to sleep in cars, and plans to reclaim vacant properties to provide housing will be put in place.

Seventh: All new housing shall prioritize housing for landless people including Section 8 housing and housing for truly low-income people such as those with an income below 30% of the Area Median Income. This goal shall include one or more of the following: eminent domain, community land trusts, housing cooperatives, affordability covenants, and changes to building, zoning, permitting, and other local codes to expand low-income housing opportunities."
§Text statement by Tracy Lee
by Dave Id Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 12:22 AM
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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

REMEMBER THE CITY CANNOT TAKE OR DESTROY ANYTHING FROM YOU IF YOU ARE AT AN EVICTION, ESPECIALLY THESE PERSONAL BELONGINGS:

- Vehicles that are lived in. Vehicles with someone inside them cannot be towed.
- Personal documents (ID, social security, birth certificate, etc.) and photos.
- Medicine and medical equipment
- Electronics (phones, radios, generators, lap tops, flatscreens, etc.)
- Tax or Financial Documents
- Jewelry, Eyeglasses,
- Purses, suitcases, backpacks.
- Tents, bikes, tools, stoves

CITY POLICY - MAKE THEM FOLLOW IT!

- The City of Oakland can only evict from city-owned property or public right-of-way (sidewalk, etc.). They must confirm the property is city-owned or otherwise defer to the actual property-owner.
- Operation Dignity will post the eviction notice, in multiple visible locations at the area, to inform the person(s).
- The City cannot prevent residents from retrieving belongings before vacating.
- Prior to and during the cleanup, the OPD will verify that all occupants have left the encampment, or will have the remaining individuals leave.
- City personnel shall not confiscate or remove belongings from site when the occupant is present, absent a reasonable belief that the belongings are an immediate threat to public health and safety or are evidence of a crime or contraband.
- Public Works (PWA) staff shall take photographs of the encampment site prior to the cleanup.
- PWA staff will collect, bag, and label personal belongings left at the site. A "Notice of Collected Property" will be posted where the original "Notice to Vacate" was previously posted, and will contain the PW A Call Center telephone number.
- PW A shall itemize the belongings collected and include the location, date, and time of collection on the itemization form.

EVICTION/CLEANUP POSTED AT YOUR CURBSIDE COMMUNITY?

They are traumatic, depressing and cause setbacks. But that's cuz The City of Oakland doesn't follow its policies - including not throwing specific things away and storing your property for up to 90 days (see other side of flier).

HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN EVICTION OR CLEAN AND CLEAR IS POSTED WHERE YOU LIVE:

- Make a list of all your stuff, take pictures of your property (see other side of flier)
- Post the Property Tag on your belongings. Take pictures from across the street and up close with the Property Tags on them.
- Contact The Village if you would like to file a lawsuit to (1) try to delay the eviction, (2) try to stop the eviction, (3) speak up for your rights, (4) need advocates to help you before, during and after the clean up or eviction.
- Be at your spot. The city can't take your property while you are around - except for "hazardous material" or contraband.
- Decide as an encampment what you are going to do. A unified camp is an unbreakable camp.
- If your encampment decides to resist the eviction and stand up for your rights:
everyone plays a role... One person deals with who's in charge of public works and human services; one person deals with the police in charge; as may people as possible should be ready to use their phones and record everything. EVERYTHING

DURING THE EVICTION:
EVERYONE PLAY YOUR ROLES! TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK!

- From jump, let the city and police know that you know your rights. Ask then to follow their policy (see reverse for some examples).
- Pull out your phones and record everything! Video tape from across the street. Videotape every time you deal with police, city workers or operation dignity. Videotape when they don't follow their policy.
- Document where they tell you to move, what shelter options they offer and for how long, where your property is stored and how you can get it.
- Padlock your tent or structure. Lock your vehicle. stay inside your home. The City policy states they cannot remove your property if you are present. The State law is

Questions? Call The Village at 510-355-7010.

Follow us on facebook: @TheVillage #feedthepeople @FirstTheyCameForTheHomeless
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City's New Practice of Bulldozing Self-Built Homes & Towing Lived-In Vehicles Leaves More Than 300 On Streets To Freeze To Death

New Cruel & Unusual Tactics on Oakland Curbside Communities Receives Anger, Frustration and Disbelief

By Anita De Asis Miralle aka Needa Bee

November 2019 Oakland, Ca - Since December of last year, Mayor Libby Schaaf's "Encampment Management Team" launched a new approach to their homeless solution plan: demolish self-built homes at curbside communities, for "brick and mortar fire code & building code violations," and tow and impound entire RV & camper communities. To date four self built home communities have been flattened, and at least four known vehicle dwelling communities have lost their homes on wheels.

More than 300 people have had their homes demolished or towed by Department of Public Works. The City has labeled these actions as "clean and clears." The residents were allowed to remain, but forced to temporarily move their belongings and downgrade to tents. The City offered no alternative shelters or provided tents to the residents who lost their shelter.

After the destruction of their communities, advocates and health practitioners documented many set-backs, tragedies and medical issues that resulted from The City's actions, including: Deep depression, despair, anxiety, PTSD Loss of medicine & medical equipment Death of a pets who were hit by cars, because they were running around confused with no homes to go to Loss of laptops and other electronics Loss of jobs or set-backs in self-employment Total destruction of stability and safety Loss of thousands of dollars in materials used to build homes Dozens of incidents of pneumonia and two known cases of people freezing to death Community members continue to be outraged The City would destroy sturdy shelters in the midst of its homeless state of emergency and not improve people's conditions. And to do so right before the rains and colder Bay Area weather approaches is a further injury and insult.

Despite community members calling, emailing and texting City officials demanding a halt each time a community was destroyed, the City ignored the public's plea and instead moved forward with their plans. The City also lied to the media and public by claiming they provided residents with tents or adequate shelter.

"The Encampment Management Team (EMT) made this plan without speaking to the residents of the curbside community. We are asking the Mayor and her EMT to take a compassionate approach and stop the destruction of the homes," said Candice Elder, Founder of The East Oakland Collective and curbside community advocate.

"Instead The City should prioritize housing and relocating camps to a safer location for all." Advocating for the best, but preparing for the worst, organizations like The East Oakland Collective, The Village, and Love & Justice in The Streets headed up drives to replace the destroyed or impounded homes with large 8-15 person tents.

"None of the residents want to lose their homes. And no one can understand why The City would destroy their homes and leave them on the streets with absolutely nothing," said Talya Husbands-Hankin with Homeless Advocacy Working Group.

Husbands-Hankin explained residents need support with getting tents; tarps and other weatherproofing materials; palettes, sheet metal and other rat protection materials.

Legal observers, advocates and community supporters on hand supported residents and responded to what they are calling an inhumane, violent and traumatizing decision that can and should be avoided.

"The reality is there isn't anywhere for folks to go and The City can't properly serve us with housing that is affordable. So our people took it upon themselves to house themselves,' said Needa Bee, unhoused Co-Founder of The Village, a curbside community human rights movement. "Instead of knocking our community members down while they are trying to stand up The City needs to be humane in their practices. And The City needs to immediately find adequate, long term emergency housing, with priority given to mothers with newborns or small children, the sick and the elderly. One night in a shelter isn't adequate when compared to a tight knit community that takes care of each other." The seven sites targeted with this new and inhumane approach to homelessness were: the tiny home community on San Leandro Blvd between 81st and 85th Ave.; Housing & Dignity Village, the curbside community next to the High Street Home Depot; Union Point Park; the vehicle community once located around East Oakland DMV; the RV community once located at Rumaldi Park in West Oakland; Wood Street Collective; E12 between 16 and 19 Aves.
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Criminalizing the Unsheltered is Not the Solution to Oakland's Housing Crisis
By Anita De Asis Miralle aka Needa Bee

In this crisis of homelessness we face, there are many fronts to fight. Not just to alleviate the lack of access to the basic human right of housing, but to eradicate the very existence of homelessness from our society.

One front is the legal and policy battles we need to engage in to stop making homelessness a crime. And rather than question the people fallen victim to a society that allows homelessness to exist, we should be questioning the criminal nature of such a society. And change bad laws that uphold that society.

One such way we go about doing this is getting rid of anti-homeless laws that criminalize people who are surviving in a system designed for a few to succeed while the many suffer.

Right before the Holidays, I was one of thirteen evicted from a clean and sober family centered encampment we'd built on the corner of Edes and South Elmhurst avenues. Our families asserted our right to a safe, warm, place to sleep - where we were not harassed by the police and predators.

The City accused us of being illegal, uninhabitable, and a threat the community. And tho we did not get charged with anything, everything we did for ourselves is a crime by law. So when neighbors who saw us as criminals called The City and complained, there was legal reasoning to slap us with an eviction. The destruction of our intentional community was unnecessary and inhumane. It didn't have to be this way.

We were a group of unsheltered women and allies who worked hard to turn an illegal dumping site into a clean, sober and women-led encampment where we could safely sleep, eat and provide some stability for our children. We named the encampment the Housing and Dignity Village. We provided meals, medical services, free winter clothing, and a community garden to anyone in the neighborhood. We were supported by residents in the neighborhood, the East Oakland Collective, the Village, the Ron Dellums Institute for Social Justice, the Ella Baker Center, Omni Commons, and other advocates and allies asserting the human rights of curbside communities.

City officials could have worked with us to find a safe, orderly way to relocate our community.

Instead they chose to forcibly remove us using more than 3 dozen Oakland police officers and 1 dozen Department of Public Works. They would not give us time to pack. They did not care than other residents - including children - were at work or school and would be coming back home to this surprise attack. While i scrambled to get my belongings and my co-residents belongs as best i could - I watched as The Mayor had City workers destroy most of our belongings, and throw our broken properties onto a flatbed. I watched as The Mayor had them use trash compactors and aneilated our shelters, kitchen, pantry, and platforms for homes yet to be built.

All the while the large police presence kept protesters away or loomed through out the land as a show of power. I had to wonder how much money the city was wasting on this effort. They put a band-aid on a wound that continues to gush blood, all for the sake of "law" and "order", power and pettiness.

Modern anti-homeless laws are the cousins of Jim Crow laws, created to control and punish the people who exist on the edge of society. These ordinances include "sitting or lying in the streets," "obstructing pedestrians," "sleeping on benches." They are specifically designed to target anyone who has no option but to live outside. They are ineffective, costly, inhumane, and -- according to a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling -- unconstitutional to enforce if the city does not provide adequate shelter.

Unless the city shifts its focus toward long-term solutions and away from criminalization, Oaklanders like me will continued to be punished for trying to survive when there are no other viable options available. And if you wonder about how limited my choices are, let me paint you a picture: On any given night in Oakland there are more than two thousand (Alameda County 2017 point in count), six thousand (Feed The People 2016 intake data), or nine thousand (Alameda County Health Care For The Homeless 2015 report) people in need of shelter. But only 350 emergency shelter beds available. For women like me there are even fewer options. Many of the places that provide beds do not accept children, pets, families and will not allow occupants to leave at night even if you work a graveyard shift.

Gordon Walker, director of Utah's Division of Community and Housing estimated that criminalizing Utah's unsheltered cost about $20,000 per person in state services, jail time and police costs. By adopting the Housing First program, where the priority is to place people in permanent housing instead of locking them up or sweeping them away, Utah saved millions and dramatically improved the number of unsheltered people in the state.

But it will take years for Oakland to shift away from its current money-driven development. City officials can start heading in the right direction right now by repealing the city 's "anti-homeless" laws while building permanent housing.

Anita De Asis Miralle, aka Needa Bee, is a longtime educator, organizer, activist, creative force and entrepreneur in Oakland, Ca. She can't help but connect the dots between issues and build coalition. She believes in service rather than charity, self-determination rather than dependency, and chopping from the top to empower the bottom. She like thousands of other hard working Oakland's cannot find housing in the Bay Area that she can afford or qualify for. She is currently homeless, fighting alongside others for a Oakland systematically being erased thru economic and cultural genocide. She is the co-founder of Feed The People & The Village; the owner of Oakland's Original Lumia Lady & The Lumpia Shack; and Program Director of Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute.
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Oakland Informal Settlements Upgrade Their Encampments Under the Banner "Right to Exist Curbside Communities"
By Anita De Asis Miralle aka Needa Bee
March 2019

Right to Exist Curbside Communities is an alliance of unhoused people who came together in July 2019 to shed light on the civil rights violations that the City of Oakland is perpetrating against its unhoused residents.

We demand affordable housing for Oakland 's displaced and soon to be displaced. Until adequate affordable housing is available for Oakland's curbside residents, Right To Exist is advocating for the right to shelter in place, upgrading curbside communities, and rallying the community support necessary to make their vision a reality. This is an effort to work in alignment with Oakland's many unhoused neighbors who are already standing up for and asserting our rights.

Over the last five years, the city has witnessed the formation of massive curbside communities like Community of Grace or The Wood Street Collective that are fully autonomous from city or non-profit governance. There are also offshoots of The Village - the human rights movement for curbside communities that provides support, services, advocacy and encampment upgrades to dozens of Oakland's informal settlements. From January 2017 - January 2019 The Village created three curbside communities. These were the Promise Land, Two Three Hunid Tent City, Housing and Dignity Village, which were intentional curbside communities built in partnership and co-governance with housed residents, community organizations, and curbside residents.

Right to Exist is also using the judicial system to shed light on the civil rights violations of the city 's current policies. With support from Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, three of the communities operating under the Right to Exist banner are currently suing the City of Oakland. Two of these communities are still standing: one is located on E12th and 16th Avenue behind the Burger King in East Oakland. The other is located on E 12th and 22nd Avenue. Some residents have been at these locations on and off for seven years. A handful were former residents of Two Three Hunid Tent City. The third is Housing and Dignity Village, which was located in deep East Oakland on Edes Avenue until the city evicted them in December 2018. The residents of all these curbside communities are suing the city of Oakland for violations of their rights to exist and survive.

The lawsuits in question are called Shipp vs. Schaff and City of Oakland, Bowen vs. The City of Oakland, and Miralle vs. City of Oakland. The unhoused plaintiffs in these cases assert we are protected by our 1st, 4th, 8th and 14th amendment rights.

Right To Exist Curbside Communities, unhoused neighbors across the city, and homeless advocates have documented and testified the city constantly violates these rights thru their eviction and cleaning practices:

1. Department of Public Works destroys and throws out properties including IDs, work uniforms, medication, family photos, laptops, tents - people's entire lives - despite the official policy which states these items are included in a list that cannot be thrown away. This practice not only violates their own policies, but the constitution (4th, 8th & 14th). It causes curbside residents deep depression and trauma, setbacks. Residents had expressed that this practice knocks our most vulnerable residents off the one foot they are standing on.

2. The City's policy also states that no one's property can be touched by City agents while the owner of the property are present and that property that the resident wants but does not have the ability to move will be bagged, tagged and stored for up to 90 days free of charge by the Department of Public Works.

3. An unnecessary and costly large police force is present at every eviction and clean-up. This large police presence makes curbside residents feel criminalized, triggered, threatened and unsafe. (8th & 14th)

Housing is a human right. The United Nations said it is the responsibility of governments to provide housing for its residents. And when a government fails to provide this, creating curbside communities is the act of human beings asserting and achieving that right by any means when the public servants have failed.

The number one priority of the city shouldn't be millions of dollars into temporary tool sheds. Instead, Right to Exist asserts that they should be putting millions of dollars into: 1. Housing built for regular folks from The Town. Over the next six years, the city of Oakland has approved 50,000 units of market rate and above market rate housing units (that's like $4,000 for a one bedroom!). In these same 6 years, the city has approved 1,100 units of what they call affordable housing. In 2019 "affordable" housing is for people making $79,000 a year. And in the next 6 years there are 250 units for no income, low income and working class residents.

2. Upgrading the quality of life in all encampments across the city. The Homeless Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) have been tirelessly pressuring the City and County to provide porta-potties, showers, trash services, clean drinking water, potable water and solar power in the 80 known curbside communities across Oakland. After three years of advocacy, only 20 encampments have partial sanitation services.

Last month the city of Oakland filed a motion asking the federal judge to dismiss the Shipp vs Schaaf case. On August 15, 2019 the judge denied the city's motion. This means that encampment will be free from threats of eviction for a while as the drawn out legal process continues. So until the city comes up with an actual solution, Right to Exist Curbside Communities are currently upgrading their encampments with the support of The Village.

At the E12 & 16th Ave location, The Village volunteer builders are working with residents to build more solid homes and a community kitchen. At E12th & 22nd Ave location The Village volunteers are working with residents to deal with the massive illegal dumping happening at the site by housed folks and businesses. On both sites, The Village is supporting the residents towards developing solid decision making process, roles and responsibilities and also fundraising for porta-potties/clean drinking water/showers/building materials.

This past June, homeless advocates were able to persuade city council to include $600,000 a year in The City budget to support self-governed encampments such as Right To Exist Curbside Communities throughout Oakland. Right to Exist is hoping to be able to have some of these funds applied to their encampments upgrades, but the bureaucratic process is slower than a snail. So in the meantime residents are pooling their curbside community resources and The Village is supporting with fundraising efforts.

To stay in the loop about issues affecting your unhoused neighbors check out The Village on Facebook, The Village website, or HAWG Homeless Advocacy Working Group on Facebook. Also if you would like to support our efforts of asserting our human right to housing, clean water and food please contact Right To Exist Curbside Communities' advocate Needa Bee at 510-355-7010.

To donate to our encampment upgrade efforts please send Home Depot electronic gift cards to: maowunyo [at] gmail.com or donate directly to The Village paypal at https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/thevillageinoakland. Funds will be used towards clean drinking water, hot meals, hygiene supplies, building supplies, trash services, towing RVs & Campers to safe places, power sources.

*** since the printing of this article, two new civil rights lawsuits have been filed. The now destroyed Union Point Park vehicle community filed Hung vs. City of Oakland with for plaintiffs. Speaking up for the e12th street community from 16th to 19th streets that has been repeatedly traumatized and brutalized for the past three years, a second Hung vs. City of Oakland was filed.

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