Indigenous/Black/Brown & Disabled Youth & Elders Move into Salesforce for the Ancestors


Tiny - Posted on 15 November 2019

Author: 
POOR Magazine Solidarity Family - Cecilia Lucas & Nichola Torbett

(To Watch the beautiful Video of the Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tour by Noematic- Click here)- pls share this and help it go viral!!!!!

 

A Truth-Is-Scarier-Than-Fiction Halloween Story: 

By Cecilia Lucas

125 houseless people evicted from where they found shelter at the Transbay Terminal, to make way for Salesforce headquarters. This happened on one day 9 years ago, part of the stream of years of days of displacement, death and a skyrocketing epidemic of homelessness -- alongside the skyrocketing wealth of one of the richest cities in the world. Tents and Teslas, growing in numbers, side by side. 

 

 A few months ago, CEO of Salesforce, Mark Benioff, announced that he is donating 30 million dollars to *study* homelessness. Study. Now, I'm a professor. I believe in studying things. But I also believe in not wasting resources. And this is an issue that has been studied plenty. The issue here is not lack of knowledge. 30 million dollars is a lot of money, even though it is a drop in the bucket for Benioff. A lot of people could actually be housed for that amount of money. 

 A few years ago, the Homefulness project, a self-determined solution to houselessness led by houseless and formerly houseless people, began building housing on a lot in Huichin (East Oakland). Several families have already moved in, and the building is continuing and will soon house more families. 

 

 Today, the Homefulness crew led prayer and renewed their invitation to Benioff to give just 1 million of that 30 million to Homefulness to continue actually implementing the beautiful solution they are building of un-selling mama earth. A model of housing that prioritizes people, not profit. They even framed it as a study, to appeal to his sensibilities and desire to keep studying the issue: their initiative would be a study on the impact of actual housing on homelessness. 

 Benioff was unresponsive, so 3 allies, Nichola Torbett, Amy Hutto and Katrina Tuebcke settled into a tent inside the Salesforce building, intending to stay there until he cut the check. However, he called in about 30 police -- how much money did that cost??? -- to arrest them on trespassing charges. They have since been cited and released -- unlike the many houseless people who end up spending lots of time in jail for the "crime" of sleeping on the street or in a car. What kind of trick is that???? What is the real crime here? 

 

 Help us get some tiny little treats out of this mess. Please put pressure on Salesforce to give this small amount of reparations to the Homefulness Project of POOR Magazine for their (ongoing) role in the displacement of people

Tech Zombies with Race, Class Privilege 

By Nichola Torbett

I haven’t yet had an opportunity to articulate why it felt important to me to dress as a full-on, grayscale, living-dead zombie for the Salesforce housing justice action yesterday, and I don’t have a lot of time now, and yet it feels important to say something. The following represents my thinking only and not the thinking of the other two zombies arrested alongside me. They will no doubt speak for themselves.

We took action yesterday, at the invitation of unhoused and formerly unhoused people, to ask Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to redirect a small portion of the $30 million he is offering to a local university to “study homelessness” instead toward the Homefulness Project, which is a proven, poor-people-led solution to homelessness that is actually housing people. (You can support that ask today by tweeting this message to @Benioff: No study ever housed anyone. #OneMillonToHousePeople #MakeItOutToPoorMagazine #CutThatCheck #SlideThatCard #Redistribution)

Funding for poor-people-led solutions to houselessness was our demand, and that needs to remain the focus.

AND I think it might be helpful for me to articulate my reasons for participating as I did, especially for those friends and family who might be similarly positioned—not wealthy CEOS, but beneficiaries of certain forms of race, class, and education privilege.

I believe—and when I say believe, I mean not just “intellectually assent to,” but “feel in my body and spirit to be true”—that the same forces that confused Marc Benioff into thinking that funding a study was an appropriate response to the devastation currently being wrought in San Francisco, in no small part due to the arrival of tech companies such as his own, have also been at work in me. Those forces have been at work in me.

Having gone through the U.S. education system, including higher education at an institution not that different from the one doing the study; having been taught to value people according to how they have assimilated to the culture of those institutions; having been born a white woman in America at a time when white women were just becoming professionally ”successful” by cooperating with white supremacist patriarchal rules; having been steeped in the assumption that economically stable people must in some way be smarter and morally superior to those who are living in poverty; having been taught to fear poor people and associate them with criminality, I feel as if I can understand where Benioff is coming from. How do we solve the problem of these poor people (because clearly they are the problem)? Let’s do a study! (To my poor, disabled, colonized chosen family: I know these messages are ugly and hurtful and wrong. It’s time those of us who have benefited from them begin to tell the truth about them.)

I have been steeped in these assumptions. And hear this: They have drained the life out of me.

They have encouraged me to separate myself from the vast majority of the human family. They have done their utmost to get me to dress, talk, think, write, walk, and (not) dance in a way that has separated me from my body, from God, and from the whole living ecosystem of which we are meant to be a part, all in exchange for something they call “success.” My existence has been a pale shadow of what it could be, a walking death, a zombie half-life.

Many of us are zombies without knowing it, having never known there could be more to life. That’s not to say we don’t have privileges. We have them in spades, and that’s why it’s been so hard to realize we are actually dead.

Yesterday, after the police cleared the lobby of everyone who could not risk arrest, you all were outside the glass, and we three zombies were inside with the Salesforce employees and police, and it felt so utterly appropriate—everyone neatly sorted.

But then you all started to sing and dance just outside the glass doors, inventing on the spot new riffs: “Come on, Ben, just slide that card,” and “Oh Ben, make it rain,” and “We all deserve a home,” and “No more gentrification! Redistribution!” You all were singing and clapping and inventing new dance moves to accompany the evolving lyrics, and it was so freaking contagious that we three zombies were dancing, clapping, and singing along inside the tent we had pitched in the lobby—right there, surrounded by police in a locked down space. It was fucking joyful. You did that. You enabled us to be that alive in that moment. I think the Salesforce people and police felt it, too.

I want that for myself. I want to be with you all.

I want it for my white, working, middle and owning class, sometimes formally educated friends and family members.

Hell, I want it for Marc Benioff.

I want us to be one human family.

And that is no easy thing because some of us are zombies. We have zombie desires and confusions and hungers and ways, and that makes us dangerous to human beings. We are conditioned to join the zombie death march that brings with it innumerable financial and social benefits. In the interest of “helping,” we sometimes try to encourage others to become more like us, to join that zombie death march.

My prayer is that by humbly casting our lot with you all, by redistributing wealth, by listening to you and following your lead, by leveraging privilege in strategic ways, we can unlearn our zombie ways and become less dangerous to you and to all of life on this planet (because right now we are well on our way to killing all of it). It’s risky, this coming together—more to you than to me—and even so, I am often scared: scared of being called out, scared of being seen as the zombie that in many ways I still am. I am committed to trying to walk this path (in the opposite direction of the zombie death march) with as much humility and courage and love as I can. I hope so many others will join me.

PNN RADIO

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