Saturday, March 07, 2009

Why is this happening now?

Over at LA2W, we've been getting a bunch of hits from people looking for the court ruling that sharing food with hungry and homeless people in public parks is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.

It turns out that a couple of Food Not Bombs chapters are facing new legal challenges.

Middletown FNB in Connecticut is appealing a "legal order" which threatens "police action" if the group does not cease "dispensing" food. Albuquerque FNB is expecting a court summons and forced removal next week; the group has a lawyer on board to help.

And Northampton Food Not Bombs in Massachusetts has been told by police that the group can't dispense food without a health department permit; they're planning to is simply to tell the police that they're having a public potluck/picnic to which anyone and everyone is invited.

Isn't it interesting that all this is happening now when the issue of hunger in America is becoming so tragic for thousands of families?

Good luck, folks! Hope our work in court helps you. If we can do anything else to help, let us know.


At 10:42 PM, Anonymous michael said...

Isn't it interesting that Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins are both Charter Signatory's to the U.S. Conference of Mayor's "America's Road Home Statement of Principles and Action," which states:

"Now, therefore, we resolve to work together in a national partnership of every level of government and the private sector, with our fellow cities and counties and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to identify, adopt, and create innovative initiatives to advance the following principles and actions:

6. Endorse housing solutions as our primary investment to end homelessness, recognizing that shelter and punitive responses are often expensive and ineffective in reducing numbers and restoring lives and affirm that permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing models offer our most disabled citizens the housing and services they need in a cost effective response.

7. Affirm the work of faith and community based agencies for the work they have done on the frontlines for decades and partner with them to fashion innovative responses that are results-oriented.

8. Invite the business and philanthropic communities to be a partner in our efforts, especially local business associations, foundations, Business Improvement Districts, the United Way, and Chambers of Commerce."

Yet, they are seeking to use legislative methods to stifle an organization which is doing the work that both of these cities should have been doing themselves.

At 12:51 AM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

Very interesting point!

At 1:36 PM, Blogger BB Sunshine said...

police are cracking down on our efforts in general. the business improvement district, recently passed in northampton, will raise property taxes, build another police station for increased police presence, decrease democracy and visibility, and essentially further homogenize Northampton. Our group Poverty is Not a Crime protested this venture before the second deciding vote in City Council, peacefully singing and dancing through the streets. I gave a speech and many led chants and songs while playing instruments and carrying signs. Fifteen cops followed
us around all day, brutally arresting two of our fellows. they even called in state police and multiple vans for mass arrest- they claim they feared "civil unrest."

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