This movement is a grassroots movement from the bottom up of Homeless, formerly homeless, and their supporters in Florida. This is a movement, a coalition forming to answer and struggle with those who would criminalize folks simply because they are homeless. It is a movement in several cities uniting around this idea of fighting back and not allowing the non-profit industrial complex “sell out” the homeless community simply because these non-profits don’t want to “rock the boat” and lose their funding. This movement’s cities include St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Sarasota, Brooksville, and Gainesville. It includes homeless folks who have been criminalized by the system and ”left out to hang” by non-profits that do not have the guts to stand up to power on behalf of the homeless. It includes groups such as Living Water, the Well, the Refuge, Speak Up Florida, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign Florida, Hearts for God Worship Center, Transitions Support Group, the Revolutionary Caucus, the Revolutionary Road Radio Show, Food Not Bombs, and Students for a Democratic Society (USFSP).
It is organizing around the premise that housing is a Human Right, the Jobs, healthcare, freedom of speech and movement are human rights, Food is a human right!! We are standing up against various Homeless Coalitions that are run by bureaucrats, Government officials, non-profits and the Business community that would marginalize and dismiss opposing voices. Those that would attempt to remove or hide the homeless community by putting them in modern concentration camps, detention facilities, or jail style shelters, such as the so called “Safe Harbor” in Pinellas County. Or, cage them in small fenced in areas that have 50 or more people in it, like St. Vincent De Paul. We will no longer allow Charlatan’s such as “Dr.” Marbut, the Joseph Mengele, of the homeless, attempt to promote and support the creation of jail style shelters. We will no longer allow municipalities like Ft. Lauderdale and others arrest Food Not Bombs or elderly spiritual men and women, like the gentleman in his 90’s that was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale earlier this year for providing and sharing food with the homeless community. This must stop!!
So, this statewide coalition is forming to speak, to act, protest, to disobey injustices against homeless and poor folks, by the arm of state repression and corporate dominance of cities. We will make cities a safe and welcoming place for all, including the homeless, by any means necessary. We will not stand by, but will struggle in solidarity and under the leadership of this class of the poor and homeless. We intend to challenge the state coalition for the homeless at the yearly gatherings. We intend to demand that all coalitions adhere to the federal guidelines of housing first. We intend to challenge Hate Crimes against the homeless and Police Brutality of the homeless. We will demand that all county coalitions in Florida have it’s membership and leadership consist of at least 50% of its people be homeless or formerly homeless. We will be forming homeless and Temp worker unions, and worker centers. The first worker center will be in St. Petersburg, called the Refuge Worker Center.
In the end we will demand a Homeless Bill of Rights that is comprehensive and has “teeth” to it. We will no longer tolerate marginalization. We know this is ambitious, but also know that it is necessary. There are too many homeless that die each year, that are noted in the various homeless memorial services that happen each year in Florida and throughout the country. We intend to bring Human Rights violations to any and all the courts or agencies that would hear us, both here and abroad. If you want more information about this struggle, this effort, please contact the Rev. Bruce Wright, Rev. GW Rolle, Rev. Robin Harris at 727 278 1547 or contact Rev. Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info. About Economic Human Rights go to www.economichumanrights.org.