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Dear Chancellor

Updated: Jun 8

Sent to UC President Michael Drake, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and UC Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib on May 16th


To President Drake, Chancellor Block and Richard Leib 

May 16, 2024


We sit, stand, huddle, and crouch outside your coffee shops, corner stores, bodegas, restaurants and markets. Sometimes we ask for change. Sometimes we hide under a tarp, jacket, cardboard box or plastic bag  to shield us from the wind, rain, cold, heat or the next sweep. 


You brush past us to get your morning coffee, your afternoon snacks, your pizza and your groceries. To go on with your day. To wipe our momentary tragic memory out of your mind, because, hey what can you do?


It is our intentionally unheard voices,  untold stories, unseen acts of community negligence un-witnessed acts of daily, hourly  violence against thousands of us houseless people across the US that i bring into elite institutions of learning like UCLA medical school, Stanford law school, Columbia Urban planning, social work, art and education to name a few, Because it is our houseless, disabled, traumatized, health compromised, medically and legally fragile  broken  bodies that students from these institutions will be treating, serving, healing, doctoring, teaching, lawyering and social working. 


I bring our stories with humility and love because my work is not a calling out- its a calling in - I don’t expect anyone to do anything except hopefully open their eyes and empath  the casual acts of collective brutality perpetrated on poor people bodies all over the world 


I make the connections to the buying, selling and commodifying of Mama Earth because our bodies wouldnt be on the street but for the multiple lies of rent, profit,extraction and systemic racism. 


I make the connections to Palestine because, like the US, it was another indigenous territory with thriving communities and trees and homes and schools, when settlers came “ to settle the land” which has caused thousands of people to become “poor” and now with the current genocide of their lands and homes, Homeless.


To open my presentations, like the one I did at the David Geffen School of Medicine I humbly invite people  to pray for Mama Earth, from Sudan to Haiti, From Kashmir to West Papua and from Palestine to Turtle Island to name a few of the sites of removal of indigenous peoples from their lands of origin, because this is how “poverty” and homelessness, displacement and incarceration happen and if we aren’t making the connections of the houseless mother in the US to the houseless mother in Rafah, and to multiple sites of local and global poverty, we are denying reality and how can we call ourselves educators?


I never force anyone to do anything, nor do i demand, harass, intimidate or berate as the letter of May 15th by Virginia Foxx to Chancellor Block and President Drake stated. I never have done this and i never will because then i would be emulating the very violent forces that have rained down on my head since experiencing homelessness for most of my childhood and young adult hood leading to my eventual arrest for the act of sleeping while houseless and later in life when myself, my disabled  mother my 5 year old sun and three other houseless families with children were made homeless by a 700 rent increase due to violent gentrification 


Rather, i pray and teach, alongside several other Poverty skolaz, as we call ourselves, deriving from the theory of poverty scholarship- a theory my mother and myself created that contextualizes lived experiences of struggle through homelessness, poverty, ableism,incarceration ,racism immigration and police terror to name a few, as scholarship. It is a textbook i bring with me in these talks and undergirds our teaching at PeopleSkool - a poor/houseless indigenous people led liberation education school offered at POOR Magazine - a poor and houseless people led movement launched by me and my mama and other povertyskolaz. 


In addition to the visionary medical students who invited me in as part of their urgent teaching on structural racism and health equity into UCLA, there were also five fellow poverty, disabliity  skolaz who were in the room with me, presenting, speaking, sharing their life with the students as part of my presentation  and it always strikes me as odd that they are never mentioned and intentionally silenced and erased in the multiple slanderous articles and letters about our presentation. Perhaps because if they were included , their observations would disprove the ridiculous and libelist accusations of force and beration and demand that continues to be said about our talk. 


Finally, and extremely regretfully these lies and the subsequent doxxing and death threats made against my life ( and so many more hard-working truth-teller faculty and your own student body)  resulted in nothing but more destruction and pain. For safely of students and faculty my subsequent presentations had to be cancelled so the transformative and urgent medicine of radical sharing, community reparations and Homefulness, which is a solution that houses houseless families, children and elders in rent-free forever healing communities, that through multiple models works very hard to hold and heal people suffering from the multiple traumas caused by  lives of poverty, racism, incarceration and scarcity that so many of us we have barely survived. Urgent medicine of love, not hate, community care, not community negligence and protection of Mama earth herself, who as we all know is also suffering. 


Who and how do people who call themselves teachers, mentors, deans, chancellors, thinkers and visionaries not see the violent harm they are perpetrating on their own student body and believe somehow that that has anything to do with education 


In grief and prayer for Palestine and Mama Earth,

 

Tiny gray-garcia, aka povertyskola

Activist in residence, UCLA 

Co-founder and Visionary, Homefulness 

Formerly Houseless, Co-founder, POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE, daughter of  Dee and mama of Tiburcio

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