Square Dealing Against Sentinel Smearing: Freedom SleepOut #24 Tuesday December 22nd

Title: El Nino vs. Freedom Sleepers: the 24th Week
START DATE: Tuesday December 22
TIME: 7:00 PM – 7:00 AM
Location Details:
Under rainy skies on the sidewalk and area surrounding City Hall (or possibly in the shelter of some empty buildings nearby. 809 Center St. on Center between Church and Locust.
Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Toby Nixon
Email Address tobynixon [at] gms.com
As rain drives homeless folks into “illegal” sleeping spots and City Council rests snugly in its warm beds “on vacation”, there is neither shelter nor warming center for 90% of the unhoused community outside. Freedom Sleepers, though reduced in numbers, continue their vigils outside the palaces of the powerful–with the grounds closed at night and patrolled by “security guards”.
A Homeless Memorial for the Dead will make its annual appearance behind locked “security gates” at 115 Coral St. at 10:30 AM in the morning. This show ritual seems designed to benefit the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center rather than address the real causes of death creating new victims each year–compliments of the City’s anti-homeless laws.

Forced to sleep unsafely, scattered, and hidden from police and security thugs, unhoused folks die on average 20 years younger than those indoors. Some believe the best way to remember the dead is to fight like hell for the living against the laws that threaten their health and safety.

Freedom Sleepers and their supporters will be meeting in the Red Church (Calvary Episcopal) at Cedar and Lincoln Tuesday December 22nd at 5:30 PM to propose new actions designed to dramatize and exposes the cruelty of Santa Cruz’s anti-poor laws (such as the “No RV Parking at Night” ordinance due to hit the books on January 8th).

Around 2 PM Food Not Bombs activists including “Blue Box Bad Boy” Keith McHenry (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/12/18/18781097.php) have announced plans to return to City Hall.

They will serve a hot meal at City Hall in response to the latest spate of falsehoods against the Freedom Sleepers by City Council staff and Sentinel scumslingers.

Folks are invited to chow down in anticipation of a cold if not a wet night and present grievances directly to City Council offices and homeless-hostile staffers–open until 5 PM.

Activist Toby Nixon will again lead the largely unhoused Freedom Sleeper Winter Soldiers in a continued protest against the City’s “go to sleep, go to jail” laws, which begins around dark.

He notes clear skies are predicted for Tuesday night and predicts that food & coffee will only be available if at all before 11:30 PM and after 5:30 AM to facilitate sleeping. Breakfast and clean-up will be done by 8 AM (if any food is actually donated).

Toby says his role is to sleep there, film what happens, and try to be helpful, but can’t be responsible for people’s stuff or serving meals. He has had some experience with encampments and is happy to try and be helpful if he can.

His main point is to encourage people to help establish a place to sleep and even brief visits to the area as well as donations of food, clothing, and protective gear can be helpful.

A video playlist of documentary work on Freedom Sleepers by Toby and others is at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR5EudWzJh8PTYBjELEMbAZXTNaJcbzCM&app=desktop .

Sunday’s Santa Cruz Urinal (more commonly known as the Santa Cruz Sentinel) featured a slanted attack piece on the Freedom Sleepers at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20151219/winter-puts-a-chill-on-santa-cruz-homeless-protest-but-memory-lingers. It hauls out all the old inflammatory falsehoods (poo poo, drug dealing, rowdy behavior, scary appearance) without any documentation.

A Community TV Forum on the Freedom Sleepers features Homeless Legal Assistance Project founder Steve Pleich, Senior Law Center on Homeless and Poverty Attorney Tricia Baumann, Local Free Radio Broadcaster Robert Norse, and San Jose Homeless Activist Robert Aguirre and can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ZnF5jjk-c .

A strong editorial from Street Spirit editor Terry Messman responding to former Mayor Don Lane’s is on line at http://www.thestreetspirit.org/on-homelessness-and-human-rights-in-santa-cruz/ .

Robert Norse’s response is at http://www.thestreetspirit.org/activist-responds-to-santa-cruz-mayors-open-letter-on-homeless-issues/

Keith McHenry will be defending the rights of those outside and responding to the Sunday Sentinel smearjob. He will also describe his own upcoming Blue Box trials in an hour-long KPFA live broadcast at http://tunein.com/radio/KPFA-975-s144396/ . More info at http://www.facebook.com/events/1522343371392147/ .