Paul Boden, a very dear friend of mine and Director of Western Regional Advocacy Project, wrote about the “Quality of Life” ordinances that targets the homeless and poor people of our society last year in the Huffington Post. I first met Paul when I was a board member for the National Coalition for the Homeless during my senior year in college. I am including the articles that were written to give the reader an understanding on the “Quality of Life” background and how it has criminalized people for being homeless.
Whose Public Safety?
Part 1: The Quality of Whose Life? The Introduction to America’s Modern Anti-Poor Movement.
Part 2: The Broken Windows Theory.
Part 3: Connecting the Dots.
Given the information from the above articles, one can clearly see that in America the solution to ending homelessness does not lie in creating more permanent housing but rather to criminalize the homeless. In the last segment of The Quality of Whose Life?, readers are given an overview of the great work that each member organization of the Western Regional Advocacy Organization (WRAP) is doing to advocate for the rights of homeless people but are also left with a question to answer. Find out what the question is after reading this article.
In order to ensure the Quality of Life for all human beings, the time has come for all forces to start building a true social justice movement. The social justice movement has the potential to be America’s version of the Egyptian Revolution. In fact, it is the social justice movement that has awakened the Middle East and North Africa. In America, we have the blueprint to create and strengthen our social justice movement. Blueprints for such massive movements are created when people lack the basic human needs; employment, housing, food, education, health care, etc. We are seeing people from all walks of life come together and be affected by the current economic crisis. Some have always been affected, others are beginning to understand the struggles of becoming a poor person in America.
All of our struggles are intertwine with each other. We can’t focus on housing issues without addressing homelessness. I have come across people who fight for tenant rights but won’t fight for homeless civil rights. We can’t focus on education issues without addressing children’s housing, mental health and their family issues. No longer must we continue to struggle isolated from one another. The time has come for us to join forces and rally our SOUL-DIERS and build America’s largest social justice movement in the 21st century. For that to happen, we need our brothers and sisters from all walks of life to come together and struggle with us as we demand a better quality of life for everyone. We cannot start a revolution with people sleeping on the streets but a revolution has always started by people on the streets.
In concluding, I am reminded by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said: “These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men [and women] are revolting against old systems of oppression and exploitation; and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are raising up as never before.”