September 30th marked the first day of the annual International Downtown Association conference at the Marriott in San Francisco. The conference was full of workshops geared towards increasing business success in downtowns all over the US and Canada as well as policing, harassing and forcibly removing people deemed a “nuisance” from downtown centers. George Kelling, the infamous founder of Broken Windows policing helped open the conference with his workshop “Broken Windows, Community Policing & Quality of Life Issues” and WRAP was there to help usher him into San Francisco.
As WRAP members from Portland, Denver and LA came into town we mobilized to infiltrate and disrupt the IDA conference and George Kelling’s talk. While we intended to enter the conference room unnoticed and disrupt the workshop we were spotted by security guards on our way in due to the same racist, classist and violent policing strategies that we are fighting.
Though we could not enter the room, WRAP members took up space outside of the conference room with banners, chants and T-shirts that read “We are not broken windows” and “Kelling you are killing us.” Organizers held down the disruption for about 15 minutes before exiting the building to join our comrades from POOR magazine who had organized a sister demonstration criticizing Broken Windows policing in front of the Marriott. An insider source inside the workshop told WRAP that George Kelling expressed “they always find me” in response to the disruption.
You can see more from the festivities here:
On October 1st, WRAP members organized an alternative panel to the IDA conference called “Broken Windows and BID Business: How Big Businesses Use Broken Windows Policing to Gentrify and Exclude” to teach our communities about BIDs. With WRAP organizers Ibrahim Mubarak from Right 2 Survive, Benjamin Donlon from Denver Homeless Out Loud and JoJo Smith from Los Angeles Community Action Network as well as allies Shayla Myers, Liz Brown and Sulaiman Hyatt panelists debunked Broken Windows policing and the ways that Business Improvement Districts terrorize street based communities.
You can see more and learn for yourself here:
The panel brought out a large crowd and gathered lots of positive feedback. This is merely the beginning for WRAP and our organizing efforts against the Business Improvement Districts and anyone who encourages the policing, harassment, incarceration and poor and homeless people. We continue to build our momentum for another year of the Homeless Bill of Rights with a message of dedication: We are not broken windows and we will continue to fight this violent system trying to break us until we are all free. Don’t believe us, just watch.