The Organized Poor Pt 2 Poor People March on Washington and HUD in honor of Dr/ King's March on Washington


Tiny - Posted on 15 June 2018

Author: 
Tiny/PoorNewsNetwork

“We are surrounded by Black Cops”, said Leroy Moore, with POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation about the 15 black cops who surrounded us houseless and formerly houseless mamas, uncles, children, and elders from the Poor People’s March when we walked humbly into the Washington DC office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demand our housing back.

 

“We are here to meet with Ben Carson,” we all said.

We poor folks, most of whom are on Section 8, living in public housing and/or no housing at all- paid a visit to the Washington Dc headquarters of HUD on Day 12 of the Poor Peoples March from Philadelphia to Washington DC only to be surrounded by poLice officers (all of color), blocking us at the door when all we asked for was a meeting with the housing director, Ben Carson who is fulfilling the neoliberal and neoconservative dreams of dismantling poor people housing as we know it.

 

“HUD changing their own door locks to keep us out is a perfect metaphor for the ways poor folks are locked out, swept up and treated as though we are trash, when we are evicted from our public and private housing and end up on the streets,” said this reporter/poverty skola, Lisa Tiny Gray-Garcia, about HUD actually sending locksmiths to the front of their building to change their main entrance locks.

After a tense stand off at the HUD entrance we were all told that one of us could get a meeting if the rest of us left the building. We figured this was another politrick, but we complied in the hopes that at least we had a slim chance of actually getting a meeting. So as we all filed out, Cheri Honkala, marcher and founder of Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign in Philly, stayed inside the building, determined by any means necessary to, “get a meeting”.

 

"We sit down with McCormack and Baron all the time," said a smooth talking HUD Public Relations (PR0 officer. While we were waiting "outside" HUD's PR person walked outside ostensibly to "answer" our questions. When I asked him about the destruction of poor people housing as we know it aka the benignly named RAD program- which sells the mortgages of public housing buildings on the private stock market to for profit banksters like ING and Citigroup and gives the management over to for profit and non-profit housing devil-opers and me and we at  at POOR call the E-RADification program, he claimed complete ignorance about how it was rolling out in San Francisco, one of the 5 demonstration cities who struggled with it first before they unveiled it on the whole of the US.

 

"So you are aware that the RAD program reneges on HUD's guarantee to provides housing for the poorest among us and demolishing buildings all across the country building buildings we are not able to get back in," I asked.

Evading the question, he looked away and then came back with, "Well in Baltimore tenants have a right of return written guaranteeing them housing when demolitions happen,"

"You mean like the Hope IV right of return which which meant no hope and no return."

"Well i don't know about all that, but i know what we have in Baltimore" As he was popping his Brooks Brothers Collar, i was thinking to myself, that's not what I heard from poverty skolaz in Baltimore and then said, "So that's not what i have heard about Baltimore, and I know that in San Francisco the housing devil-opers McCormack and Baron are trying to sweat out Plaza East residents by never replacing their broken appliances and plumbing and heating and making it impossible for them to getting any recourse or justice," at which point he revealed the sick, sleazy relationship between corporate for profit and non-profit housing devil-opers and how they talk "all the time" and then walked away from me.

Sadly, after pretending to take Cheri up to a meeting they just escorted her to the back entrance and when she refused to move they arrested her. “People are afraid of us organized poor, " said Cheri Honkala as she was being dragged away from her disabled sun Guillermo and all of us by poLice agents of the state at HUD.

 

“They are selling off all of our public housing,” said Louie from Picture the Homeless speaking to PoorNewsNetwork when we did our Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tour about just a part of the ongoing destruction by HUD of all of our poor people housing, a story POOR Magazine poverty skolaz Tiny and QueenandiXSheba released in 2013 in the SF Bayview.

A Real Poor People March

From San Francisco to San Juan Puerto Rico- we Black, Brown, Indigenous, Poor White, disabled, children, adults and elders all took part in this powerful poor people-led march to highlight and manifest poor people-led solutions to our crises of evictions, displacement, incarceration, criminalization and brutal anti-poor people-hate that are increasing across this stolen indigenous territory. ( Read Part 1 here)

 

After our first day getting poLice called on us for Sitting While Unhoused in amerikkklan on the porch in Philly- the poLice presence and harassment continued throughout this herstoric march. We walked past wealth-hoarder and land stealers in Oxford , Penn, to Baltimore, Maryland. The police harassment us marchers got were an example of the micro-abuses that happen everyday in amerikkka to unhoused and disabled people of all colors.

 

In the march they manifested as churches that “let” us stay in their basements waiting for us to leave at the crack of dawn. Or posted up in their church lobbies like we were going to steal something- not sure what, maybe a basketball hoop considering we were in the gym sleeping on the floor.

 

And then we arrived in Washington DC- the rich white mans house to take back what he stole from us - like our theme song sang by Tara Colon’s beautiful daughter throughout the march reminded us. and the beautiful crazy was on.

 

“We have a permit, “ said poet, drummer and revolutionary Pastor Bruce Wright from the Florida chapter of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign to the park police as they began an onslaught of harassment of us unhoused folks when we arrived to build Resurrection city on Dupont circle in Washington DC, a few blocks from the (Rich) Wite (Mans) House.

 

“Our Permit was revoked,” said Cheri Honkala to all of us. After a two hour stand-off between park ranger police and us unhoused and formerly unhoused black , brown and white people who built the historic Resurrection City in Honor of the 50 year anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, our permit was revoked for no reason at all. We weren’t causing any trouble, we weren’t fulfilling any racist and classist stereotypes about poor folks. We were just sleeping while houseless in this stolen territory.Just like the multiple other unhoused folks who slept on the perimeter of Dupont Circle and were continually harassed every day by park police for the duration of our time there.

At POOR Magazine/homefulness we houseless and formerly houseless black, brown and indigenous people learn from our teachers, elders and ancestors that parks like Dupont circle park and Golden Gate Park are a lie in the first place, just a way to sanction the stealing of land from 1st Nations people. That “heroes” like John Muir was just a sanctioned gangster who created documents that claimed ownership on huge swaths of stolen indigenous territory on Mama Earth, locking it up and calling it “public” but never really intending it to be for “all” the public. Which is why revolutionary poor folks like Auntie Frances’ Self-Help Hunger Program is harassed for serving food, for living, sitting and standing, planting trees while unhoused in amerikkklan. Whose attempts to put a porta pottie in gentriFUKED Driver Plaza in North Oakland is stymied by poltricksters and hipsters alike, and Corrina Gould, 1st Nations Ohlone /Lisjen Land Liberator and co-founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust and Homefulness Elephant Council member, has to fight so hard to save another sacred site, this time the West Berkeley Shellmound, from more desecration.

 

So there we were, the actual poor folks trying to honor, lift up, seize and manifest Dr Kings Dream- the one excerpted, sliced and diced and used over and over in propaganda in public relations campaigns for Airlines to Parades and we were threatened with arrest, displaced and evicted. Another perfect metaphor for the treatment of lives and bodies of houseless people across the US.

 

“These are the purveyors of the American Dream, which for all of us poor folks, black and brown folks is the american nightmare,” said Revolutionary Pastor and fellow marcher Keith Collins, outside the Poor Peoples March ’s last stop, the Chamber of Commerce, which as Cheri explained was the real power behind the Rich white Mans House.

 

And as poverty skola comrades at Western Regional Advocacy Project (wraphome.org) and POOR Magazine Wesearch  teaches us, the Chamber of Commerces in every stolen city in amerikkklan are the backers and promoters of the Business Improvement District (BID) which is one of the reasons us poor folks are “swept” off of the sidewalks like we are trash.

 

This march was a really real representation of 21st century poverty and included some amazing mamaz, daddies, youth, elder and disabled skolaz providing rides, support vehicles, back up food, blankets, air mattresses, tents, love and medical support, like Lisa and Leon Richards and their fabulous daughter and photographer Eva Cristo, and all their fierce and beautiful children, Tara Colon and her suns and daughters and granddaughters, carrying us with their beautiful singing voice and support, Julia and her sun Jeremy, Cheri and her Sun Guillermo, and Ondre and "T" and Robert and POOR's mentee Josie, and Eddie Somerset and his amazing brother Gaylen and Pablo and Curtis and Sha and Steve and me and my Sun Tiburcio and Bilal and Leroy so many more...

 

“This beautiful march was life-changing for me, thank-you all for your hearts and love,” said “T” one of the powerFUL unhoused poverty skolaz from St Petersburg, Florida who marched with us through thick and thin and spoke at our beautiful closing circle and prayer on July 12th.

 

“We all know this fight isn’t over, and we as poor folks need to be leading our own fights and our own liberation,” said Pastor Bruce Wright.

 

For more information about the poor people march on Washington go to economichumanrights.org. For more information on one of the templates of poor people-led housing we po folks call Homefulness go to www.poormagazine.org/homefulness.

 

Photo credits: Jason Bosch, Eva Cristo, Tiny, Tiburcio

 

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