‘We’re all human beings!’ says fighter for homeless rights

Shadow, an unhoused resident, speaks about the need for the city of Los Angeles to provide services, not sweeps, as Pete White and General Dogon of LA Community Action Network listen.
PHOTO/BILL ROBERSON

 

From the Services not Sweeps action in Harbor City, CA

HARBOR CITY, CA —On April 6 over 19 endorsing organizations conducted an action at a houseless encampment in Harbor City, CA, demanding that “the City of Los Angeles and all of its Department must change the approach to unhoused communities in our public spaces, and provide health-based solutions and resources that improve living conditions for all of us.“ On any given day there are up to 40 sweeps of unhoused encampments! More information is available at www.servicesnotsweeps.com/

Comments by Shadow:

Good morning, my name is Shadow. I want to thank everyone here for the service they’re providing. Services not sweeps. Services instead of sweeps. We have been ridiculed by the police, we have been robbed by the police department. We have been treated like non-human beings by the police department. Who polices the police department is really what I want to know.

We’re all homeless, we’re trying to find a place to live and to get back into the system. Trying to get back to living at home and we get all of our stuff taken away on a daily basis. So how do they expect us to move forward and progress and get to school or get into a job when we can’t have a place to stay and we have to carry everything on our backs?

This doesn’t make any sense to me, this is a Catch 22. I don’t know who is getting the funding, but for some reason they want to keep this problem the way it is. They have all kinds of resources they can provide for us so that we don’t have to be out here. But for some reason they’re not providing those resources.

There’s a couple of people that help us tremendously, like Craig. He’s one of the most tremendous people I’ve met in my life. This guy has helped me and has shown me how I’m supposed to get out of here. But even in that, knowing how to get out of here I’m still having to do that under a tent that’s put flat after 6:00 a.m. in the morning so that I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get ready or present myself to society to do anything when the first thing in the morning at 6:00 am they’re down here taking our tents down.

And if you don’t take your tent down you’re ridiculed and threatened with getting arrested. Well I’ve heard somebody say that being homeless is not a criminal act. So why am I getting arrested for being a criminal? Why am I being threatened if I’m homeless? If I’m homeless I should be getting help and services not being sent to jail every day and losing my stuff.

Cause it doesn’t seem that that many of the community are against us because they’re all helping us. We’re all human beings. I mean it doesn’t matter if you have a house or not we’re still human beings. We still deserve the same amount of respect as everyone else. So I want to thank everyone again and thank you for your time.

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