This is the second post of a series about how to create justice in our communities for the homeless.
This year our local cities have been harassing our homeless everywhere, every day, to move them on, or encouraging them to leave the city. This has been a policy ordered from the mayor’s office in Portland and the police department in Gresham, as well as the Oregon Department of Transportation and the county Sheriff’s department.
Anawim began a small campaign to write to these offices and to call to change these policies. We were able to get a hundred people to respond. That’s on the small side, but every bit helps
Find out what laws have been passed in your community that the law enforcers use to oppress the homeless in your area. In Portland, there is a camping ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to sleep outside. While it could be used against children pitching a tent in their backyard, the lawmakers intended to use it against the homeless, and so “sweeps” regularly happen where the police tell the homeless that they have to move. There is nowhere for them to move to. Some police in Portland will tell the homeless to move out of their city and never return—the city they were raised in.
If a number of people wrote letters to their city council demanding that the homeless be treated like the citizens they are, instead of piles of garbage that need to be cleaned up, the city would change their policies. If people wrote to the local newspaper demanding that the homeless not be harassed by the police, then lawmakers and the police will listen. But it will take a lot of people, over time, doing this.
Janet Isabel Smith
Thank you for your letter.
It woud be great if you would send these letters to Deborah Kafoury and to the newspapers. I think you should have a column in Oregonian and/or Gresham Outlook. I think you should be on Georgine Rice show., and emailing your letters to her. I am moved to write a letter also.
Thank you again.