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Poverty protest.
Poverty protest.. 

By G.W. Rolle

 I read the article “City Plans to Move the Homeless Out” [in a St. Petersburg, Fla. paper] with great interest, though with a twinge of sadness. After all, we the Homeless Leadership Network, are supposed to be leaders and intrinsic in that term leadership, I would imagine, is the fact that we are leading the homeless to a better situation—if not a life like ours, at least a life off the streets, and into suitable housing. The fact that more leaders are not more angry about the actions of the city council, in their attempt to criminalize homelessness, is indicative of the syndrome known as a fox in a henhouse or a wolf in sheep's clothing.

We draw funds—mostly unaccounted for—we meet countless hours a week, we make heartfelt quotes in the newspapers, but when the very thing we are supposed to be advocating against happens, and this is not a drill, where are the press conferences, the righteous indignation, the very actions that define what committee we are on?
Do you really believe the city has the right to seize a person's private property and destroy it? Do you really advocate that no one sleeps, lies, or reclines (huh?) on rights of way during daylight hours? The problem is, these rules were never meant to apply to everybody, because that would be foolish and untenable. But if these rules are only applied to some and not all, that equals discrimination.
The Interfaith Shelter Committee (ISC) voted to a person, that when Pinellas Hope opened, they would urge the mayor and his ilk not to criminalize the people who did not go to the tents at Pinellas Hope for one reason or another. I was disappointed that the ISC didn't hold a press conference to denounce these new draconian efforts to dehumanize a portion of humanity.
There is an evil argument making the rounds in various schools of thought. That argument says that those who do not go to Pinellas Hope are not trying to better themselves and are choosing to be comfortable in homelessness and should be ridden out of town on a rail. Hey—since when were tents deemed as suitable housing? I didn't get that memo.

All of you who work with the homeless day in and day out, tell me who chooses homelessness as a lifestyle? I know I didn't, but that fact didn't stop me from being out there for four years. Those with ears, let them hear.
Homelessness is a humiliating nightmare. You cannot even use the bathroom after certain hours without threat of arrest. For what everyone else does everyday without thinking about, you are held up to ridicule, and told they have had enough of you. Could one of our committees, in the five hundred hours of meetings a month, work to get twenty-four hour restroom access? I mean are we that lame, that toothless?
I think it is all going to boil down to what kind of people we and the rest of the citizens of St. Petersburg are. Are we compassionate shepherds, or are we the killer of sheep? Heaven or Hell perhaps lie in the balance

G.W. Rolle is a leader of the homeless community in St. Petersburg, Florida. He can be reached at

Lenette Evans
Lenette Evans

By Lenette Evans

Many years ago Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader, once said, “I have a dream.”

He was one of the best men that ever lived in this country, a man of God who had a vision and was bold enough to stand up, and step out in faith for what he truly believed in. He made a difference to people in his community and around the world.
He said: "I HAVE A DREAM... that one day Black girls and boys will join hands with white boys and girls, sisters, and brothers.....I HAVE A one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their character."
In 1964, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he said, "I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind....I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy was the acceleration of civil liberties for all Americans but especially for the Black and the poor. He fought against RACISM in our country and believed in peace and love for us the way Jesus Christ loved us.
In his life he was arrested thirty times for his involvement in civil rights activities and spent time in prison. He spoke truth and justice for all and came against what the enemy has done in America.
My Birthday was on January 15th, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s was. It was an honor. I am proud to also know I go to First Assembly Of God Church, in St. Joseph, Michigan, which is a multi-cultured church that has love and deep compassion for ALL people.
Let’s stand up people and get rid of the SPIRIT of RACISM that has saturated and blinded us in our communities and let’s be Christ-like and love one another and make positive community change.

Lenette Evans
Street Evangelist,
A Minister of the Poor

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551,
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