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Grants Pass is NOT for Sale

Updated: Jun 29



Houseless/Indigenous Peoples respond and refuse the Ban on Our Bodies and Lives



“Pleeeeease don’t take my mind… please don’t take my mind, “ my aunty rochelle was screaming and crying at the cop while they motioned to the orange-vested men hurling her collection of dolls, her torn sleeping bag and her last tarp into the trash truck near us. 


“We will arrest you Ma’am if you don’t leave now,” the cops were robotic, barely registering my Aunty’s  terror. Muchless her humanity. This was years ago in San Francisco when she was staying with me and mama in our broke-down hooptie, which we parked wherever they didnt arrest us or cite us for parking in public while houseless. 


Aunty came up from LA where she was a legit doll collector, but like the fate of so many Black, Brown/Indigenous disabled women and men alone, she lost her home, which housed her little doll store in South LA,  through a violent paper trail of foreclosure and eviction and ended her up with nothing but 22 dolls, which she kept wrapped up in a series of old paper bags. Now she equated the loss of her dolls with the loss of her family. Her kin. Her people. Her mind. 


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Grants Pass v. Johnson, a case that had barred multiple settler cities across stolen Turtle Island,  from citing and arresting people for the sole act of being homeless in public. The Supreme Court, packed with wealth-hoarding, land-owning, classist, racist, ableist haters,  in a 6-3 decision, said fining and arresting homeless people does not violate constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.


Decolonizing Homelessness

“200 years ago, before colonization there wasn’t even a concept of homelessness,” said Corrina Gould, Talking chief/spokesperson of the confederated villages of Lisjan/Ohlone and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust and Family Elders Council member of Homefulness.

  

So-called Grants Pass, Oregon itself is stolen land, and should be returned to the Takelma, Shasta and Athbaskan relatives, who are the first peoples of that territory. And many of whom make up the houseless relatives in so-called Grants Pass. Just like they do in so-called Bellingham, Olympia, Seattle and much of the Pacific Northwest (and all of occupied Turtle Island) . Un-reparated, un-supported, original peoples, houseless on their own land.  Secondly, I don’t recognize the Stealing Fathers’ and their lying lies aka the CONstitution, which has proven over and over again to be a “fluid” document that only protects the white, wealth-hoarding , land-stealing class that originally stole Turtle Island. 


“This (ruling) is horrible, sleep is a body’s survival need. If unhoused people are a concern then provide housing for them or truly affordable housing options. Rent is too high and wages are low there are too many people struggling that may be unhoused soon. Elders are the highest population growing as unhoused because they can’t pay rent with their pensions” said warrior shero Martha Escudero, houseless leader with Reclaiming Our Homes in occupied Tovaangar (LA) 


Not having a home and being forced to sleep on the street is only a crime in this stolen land governed by krapitalism. a colonial system that criminalizes poverty and commodifies Mama Earth. The US CONstitution is a document that not only holds in place the theft of occupied turtle Island, but the theft of poor and houseless peoples bodies and belongings. 


Now is the Time to Fight

“Today, the Court stated that these ordinances that criminalize poverty are not "unusual" because they remain the "usual mode[s]" for punishment. Historically, the "usual modes of punishment" in this country have been slavery, lynchings, mob violence, jim crow, LGBTQ percecution, gender discrimination, the genocide of indigious communities, the shunning of the poor, disabled, those with mental illness. Now is the time that we stand up for those experiencing homelessness and those who are in desperate need of affordable housing. Today, we fight, " Andrea Henson, Lawyer with Where Do We Go?


Under the 8th amendment Houseless peoples have already been terrorized by hundreds of laws, like the Sit-Lie Law and the Encampment Ban, 41:18, and Prop 1, and that’s just the current ones. These lies (laws) were all written on the backs of hundreds of years of settler colonial hate for poor people, that creates the criminalization of the so-called public space. As well as the racist, classist codes for the public. Its not illegal for people in a park who “don’t look houseless to sleep on the grass or for luxury RV’s to park in paid parking lots and paid "campgrounds" on more National (read: stolen land "Parks") across Turtle Island. 


“The Grants Pass decision will mean what it has always meant for poor people, houseless people living in every city and town in the United States: we do not belong in in your world. Aetna Street Solidarity is committed to fighting for a world where everyone belongs. We were born out of resistance to LA Municipal code 41.18 which banned sitting, lying, sleeping on public sidewalks. The Grants Pass decision is an extension of an ideology rooted in white supremacy and capitalism that leads to 6 unhoused people dying a day on the streets of LA. When LA passed an amended version of LAMC 41.18, we saw unprecedented loss of people living on the streets coupled by state-sanctioned raids led by our city’s sanitation, police, and housing authority. The only services that were offered were permanent fences, the threat of arrest and nothing else beyond a temporary shelter bed.” said Aetna Street Solidarity.


We are criminalized in our bodies for being poor outside, for living without a roof, sleeping in our car, in doorways, in parks, on streets and in tents. What is never mentioned is we are in these doorways and cars because of a system that commodifies mama earth and profits off of our poverty and the incarceration of our bodies.  



“All the government  "Solutions" like Cabin Communities and shelters have failed to create the necessary foundation unhoused people need to be able to rebuild our lives,” said John Janasko, houseless resident leader at Wood street Commons

 

According to Paul Boden of Western Regional Advocacy Project “Criminalizing poverty and homelessness not only fails to address systemic causes of mass homelessness, it also exacerbates both the underlying structures of oppression that continue to plague our society, racism and classism” 


"Man over Mama Earth. Is the Supreme Court going to pay my rent, or should we be knocking on your door, Move over we are moving in," said Leroy Moore, Formerly houseless, disabled povertyskola with POOR Magazine , Homefulness and Founder of Krip Hop Nation


Homefulness - a homeless peoples solution to homelessness created by houseless peoples at POOR Magazine, just welcomed their 21st houseless family into rent-free forever housing stands together with fellow houseless peoples, advocates and allies Wood Street Commons, Reclaiming Our Homes, Krip Hop Nation, Self-Help Hunger Program, Camp Resolution and Aetna Street Solidarity we resist and refuse this recent legal decision on Grants Pass that will allow, enable, condone and promote the ongoing violent criminalization of our bodies and our lives and instead we demand reparations for the land theft, ableism, classism, border terrorism and violent poLice terror.  


I took Aunty with me to make sure she wasn’t taken to the psych ward at General that day. But we were houseless too so there was really nowhere for her to be safe. After they took Aunty’s dolls she was never ok. She used to whisper and cry softly most days, checking every dumpster she could. One day without saying anything to anyone she wandered into I-80 Freeway, never to be seen again.. 

  


See Testimonials from formerly Houseless residents of Homefulness by clicking here 





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1 Comment


I don't know what good a minority SCOTUS opinion will ever do us... but there is a lot of case history cited near the end of Sotomayor's dissent. That's worth familiarizing ourselves to before they arrest us for breathing and assign us a defense attorney who knows he'll be praised if even if he does not contest that sleeping while poor means we had lost our mind. Not to mention our toy collections.


I say to remain safe... please read or try to be familiar with the reason paywall book "Prison by Any Other Name" was written and published before making the serious mistake of pleading insanity (never reccomended) for sleeping as suggested in the majority SCOTUS opinion:

https://thenewpress.com/books/prison-by-any-other-name

This…

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