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Indybay Feature
Unhoused and Supporters Demand "Support not Sweeps" at Caltrans HQ
by Leon Kunstenaar - CA Solidarity Coalition
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2021 10:37 AM
Street theater, song and dance in protest in Oakland at 111 Grand Ave.
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Photos: Leon Kunstenaar / Pro Bono Photo

"To us you are trash" shouted the "cops" as they "swept" the demonstrators and tents set up at the entrance of Caltrans' building. The reenactment showed what is happening to thousands of the unhoused and anchor-outs throughout California.

The protesters demanded that District 4 director Dina El-Tawansy to CEASE AND DESIST from displacing people living on CalTrans land and people living anchored out on Richardson Bay.

Speakers and musicians elevated the voices of the unhoused at a press conference honoring WHY people should be allowed to REMAIN IN PLACE or be offered REASONABLE, PERMANENT housing.

Encampments around the BioRegion have come together to resist eviction by CalTrans, the largest landholder in the state of California and the most brutal landlord. ‘Sweeps’ of more than 200+ unhoused residents are planned by July 1st around the Bay Area with NO ADEQUATE OFFER OF HOUSING, promising to funnel Oakland and Berkeley residents into out of sight, out of mind Safe RV Lots that have faced heavy criticism.

As the City of Oakland’s Safe RV Lot on Wood St is set to open with capacity to host 40 functional, registered RVs as a justification for moving forward on sweeps around Oakland and Berkeley, residents say WE WON’T GO into out-of-sight-out-of-mind, inaccessible and unreasonable temporary housing. Even CDC officials guidelines as of June 7th, 2021, state: “If individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are.” These RV lots often do not provide space for adequate social distancing measures, do not allow cooking on site, have a curfew, and do not allow visitors or even children of residents to stay overnight.

El-Tawansy is also a commissioner on the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and has supported crushing of boat homes anchored in the bay. People are having their homes destroyed: tinyurl.com/SFChronicleSausalito.

Activists called on state, local, city, county officials and the public health department to protect our unhoused communities, to SUPPORT and STOP THE SWEEPS! Local health officers may take any measures to ensure the safety and protection of public health - sweeps and displacement are a CRISIS. See Section 8558 of the Government Code.

This coalition has drafted an open letter to the Governor that can be accessed at tinyurl.com/DearGovNewsom to demand an end to this inhumane treatment for encampments around the state. They are asking organizational partners to endorse this letter and demanding a direct meeting with Governor Newsom himself.

Hosts and sponsors included:
  • Wood St People’s Collective
  • Wood St Commons
  • Cob On Wood
  • Camp Cormoran
  • Where Do We Go Berkeley
  • SacSoup
  • Poor News Network/Homefulness
  • Marin County Homeless Union
  • Camp Compassion
  • Essential Food and Medicine, and Artists Building Communities.
  • Camp Compassion, Novato: Jason Sarris, +1 (415) 879-6507
  • Richardson Bay Anchorage (Anchor Out Community): Arthur Bruce (707) 774-4815
  • Marin County Homeless Union: Robbie Powelson (415)847-7500
  • Sacramento Homeless Union: Crystal Sanchez
Letter to Gov Newsom

See all high resolution photos here.
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by Leon Kunstenaar - CA Solidarity Coalition
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2021 10:37 AM
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by Leon Kunstenaar - CA Solidarity Coalition
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by Leon Kunstenaar - CA Solidarity Coalition
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